By Robbie Owens

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In Rowlett, the rain only adds to the storm ravaged dreariness of this once lovely neighborhood near I-30 and Dalrock.

“It’s disheartening,” says homeowner Gale Berry-Richards. “It makes me feel so bad for the people.” Berry-Richards rode out the tornado with her husband, Danny, and grandson in an interior bathroom. Their home was damaged; but, has already been repaired. She’s grateful. But, she’s also concerned about what’s happening in what’s left of her neighborhood.

Of course, the debris and head-high garbage aren’t helping either. So Berry-Richards reached out to the city. And following a frustrating round of phone calls, was astonished at the ultimate response: “They said, `we’re not going to be picking that up’. I said ‘why not’???”

Her husband, Danny, adding “those people have got enough on their plates already and I’m just disappointed that the city has not made more of an appearance in saying ’how can we help’.”

The couple was astonished to learn that the city of Rowlett considers the tornado debris each individual homeowner’s responsibility… and an issue for their insurer.

In response to our inquiries, city spokesperson Denise Perrin forwarded a statement, which said, in part “the city does not provide debris removal for private property. The city does however remove debris from the streets and right of ways to keep them clear for travel and emergency services. We have already completed four passes of the affected areas and removed over 100,000 cubic yards of debris…”

Gale-Berry is not impressed. “If you’ve been through here four times picking up rubbish, I’d like to know what you picked up– because it’s still there!” “It would have been a great opportunity to get some good will from the people towards our city government,” says Danny, with obvious disappointment.

Gale and Danny both say they are the lucky ones. They know it and were quick to say so. Still, with so many neighbors displaced, they wonder what’s moving into the stacks of garbage.

“Not too much longer there’s going to be rats, insects and all kinds of terrible things that will be in the rubbish if they don’t come pick it up,” says Gale. And of her neighbors, “their lives have been so displaced anyway, much less worrying about who’s going to take an old mattress off the front of their yard.”

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