FORT WORTH, TX – A North Texas community forged ahead in a massive cleanup, and the search for the missing continued Friday from 16 tornadoes that ripped through the area.
That search for seven people still missing is still active, a local sheriff said.
“We’re going to keep on looking,” Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said Thursday. “We’re not going to give up until every piece of debris is turned over.”
The seven-hour onslaught of twisters, 16 confirmed so far according to the National Weather Service, battered the area Wednesday, turning neighborhoods into rubble and leaving six people dead.
Survey teams for the National Weather Service were scheduled to be in the area Friday to continue assessing the damage.
A survey team found damage indicating at least one EF4 tornado had struck. That is the second-most severe classification on a scale of zero to five.
That tornado stuck Granbury, a city 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, ripping homes clean off their foundations and decimating a neighborhood.
All the deaths occurred in that neighborhood of about 110 homes, many of which were built by Habitat for Humanity. Most of the homes in the Rancho Brazos subdivision were destroyed or damaged, the sheriff said.
The victims were identifed as Jose Tovar Alvarez, 34; Marjari Davis, thought to be 82; Tommy Martin, 61; Leo Stefanski, 83; and Robert and Glenda Whitehead, Deeds said.
Three people were taken to an area hospital, and 13 others were taken to hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, authorities said.
Some of the patients had to have amputations, said Dr. Kerri Sistrunk, head of the trauma unit at Lake Granbury Medical Center. Others suffered head injuries and open fractures, as well as minor abrasions, she said.
Fortunate to be alive
And for many, Friday will be another day of waiting to get back to their damaged homes to see what remains.
Ronna Cotten said she was told that she can’t re-enter her subdivision to “check to see if we have any belongings left” for at least two days, maybe as many as seven.
Power is expected to be down for the next three weeks, Cotten said she was told. She stayed in the home of a woman who picked her up from a rescue center Wednesday night and worked the phones Thursday trying to find hotel rooms for her family.
She still considers herself fortunate. The mother of four said she survived the furious storm by clutching to a doorknob as winds tore through her home.
“I feel very lucky because we are alive,” she said
By Lateef Mungin
CNN’s Dave Alsup, Chandler Friedman and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.
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