ROWLETT, Texas – Residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area returned home Monday to salvage what they could after a killer tornado devastated the area.
The cleanup was a slow and painful process for residents in Garland, where eight people were killed in Saturday's EF-4 tornado. Residents found that not much was left of the place they once called home. They found roofs ripped, windows shattered, trees uprooted and vehicles destroyed.
KSAT 12 reporter Bill Barajas spent the day with residents in North Texas. You can watch his stories from the five and six o'clock newscasts here.
John Lambert was out of town when the tornado hit. He returned Monday to find his home was gone.
"It's demolished. You walk up, no windows, no nothing. Everything is gutted," Lambert said. "The roof is gone. My truck is destroyed, my trailer is destroyed. But it's material things."
“I can’t believe I survived”
There was time Saturday night Ronnell Lincoln did not think it would end that way. Lincoln rode out the storm inside his apartment with the mother of his children and his two little boys.
The Kansas native said he knows a thing or two about tornadoes and when the storm approached he knew he had to find a safe place for his family.
“I had to get something to cover us so I got the baby mattress jumped in the tub and about that time as I was covering us we just heard the glass explode," Lincoln said. When he came out he said it looked like a war zone.
On Monday Lincoln spent the day searching through what remains of his apartment trying to salvage what he could.
“We are all human and we need each other"
While many in North Texas survived the storms with no damage, many are not as lucky. In a small gesture of goodwill volunteers came out Monday to help victims of the storms as they rebuild their lives from the ground up.
Lizett Torres and her family did their part to help.
“We've been here since yesterday. I think we've seen about 10 families which is very minimal compared to what he damage was so we just need to know where they are," Torres said.
Her family worked to help people in Collin County where three people died, in the city of Garland eight people lost their lives and another 23 people were injured. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.
At Lake View Centennial High School volunteers gathered, “We have socks, underwear, tooth paste, hair stuff clothes, food we had a lot of food from chick fil bbq places that have been donating stuff so it's hot and ready and ready to go,” one volunteer said.
In a true sign of generosity the school had collected too many items, and it was becoming a problem.
They've also had issues finding people who need the help. Some neighborhoods remain blocked off; only emergency responders are being let in.
“Stayed in their homes due to all the looting”
Thomas Felix isn’t going far. He and his family survived the massive EF-4 tornado that tore his home apart.
“I come to the door and peak out and I see debris flying and I said this is the real deal," Felix said.
He quickly got himself and his family under the stairs in their home and braced for the impact. Much of his home is damaged, inside there's busted windows and holes in the ceiling. His daughter’s room was one of rooms with the most damage.
“She was up here when it initially came in and we called her down. Luckily cause if not she was laying there and it would of been really bad," he said.
Staying in his powerless home Felix refuses to leave for fear that looters will steal what little remains of his property and his neighbors.
Garland police continue to maintain a large presence in the damaged neighborhoods, and they said they tell us they will be here as long as there needed.