NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The clock is ticking! Deadlines are fast approaching for North Texas tornado victims.
There is much work that remains to be done in Garland, Rowlett and other North Texas cities where twisters touched down. This is the demolition phase for many people. For most, the process of rebuilding has yet to begin.
Anyone looking for help from the American Red Cross must register today. Survivors of the December 26 tornado are encouraged to sign up to gain access to a variety of relief services. Anyone wanting to register should go the Red Cross office at 4800 Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas or call 214-678-4294 for more information.
The official count has some 1,100 homes that are not livable, have major damage or were completely destroyed by the deadly tornadoes. Another 1,100 North Texas homes received minor damage during the storms.
If you live in Rowlett and lost your vehicle in the tornado you’ve still got time to claim it — but the clock is ticking.
The storms tossed cars and trucks around like toys. One of the first orders of business was for City of Rowlett crews to get the damaged vehicles off the streets, so cleanup crews and first-responders could get through.
Hundreds of vehicles were damaged or destroyed by the December tornadoes and many remain unclaimed at a temporary lot at Herfurth Park. Owners have about a week left, until January 30, to claim their vehicle free of charge, scrap it, or allow the City to put it up for auction.
If vehicle owners in Rowlett take no action they will receive a letter informing them that the City has begun the process of auctioning the vehicle.
A business owner faces the same choice at a storage unit facility in Garland. A bulldozer will come in at the end of this month to raze damage at GT Storage.
Owner John Aldridge is asking storage unit renters to grab what they can — while they still can. “You’ve got a building that’s 50 foot wide and 440 foot long, and there’s nothing there… no beams, no tin, no roof, no sides. All the doors are gone.”
Back in Rowlett, a new wave of volunteers are set to arrive today to help storm survivors tackle one of the biggest obstacles to rebuilding their homes. Some 30 volunteers will help demolish four homes in the city this weekend — two today, and two Saturday.
Right now, the structures are mere shells of homes and damaged beyond repair.
Employees from McCarthy Building Companies will do the heavy-duty demolition work, in partnership with the non-profit Thirst No More.
In Rowlett alone, more than 600 homes were damaged by the EF-3 tornado that tore through the city. Debris is piled high along the curb on Bayhill Drive. City crews have already removed more than 100,000 cubic yards of trash.
But when it comes to debris, whether or not it is picked up and taken away depends on where it’s located. Rowlett does not provide debris removal on private property — only right of ways and streets.
Some residents think the lingering garbage is a health hazard, especially as the piles grow every week, and are exposed to rain and animals.
Storm victim Gale Berry-Richards said, “I can see where they’ve got a lot to pick up and I understand that. But if you’ve been through here four times, I’d like to know what you’ve picked up because it’s still there!”
A spokesperson for the City of Rowlett estimates the removal process will take 10 weeks.
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