Deadly tornadoes plaster Ft. Worth

BY STEVE GUST | FORT WORTH | March 29, 2001

The break of daylight today gave

the Fort Worth area its first glimpse of a path of destruction left

by deadly tornadoes

that struck Tuesday evening.

Some downtown areas of Fort Worth were closed today as emergency

crews assessed damage left by the twisters, which touched after 6 p.m.

CST Tuesday.

The death toll stood at four today with more than 100 injured.

There were reports of broken glass strewn all across downtown Fort Worth.

That was one reason for downtown being shut down.

"There is a safety issue right now," David Passey, emergency analyst

of FEMA said today from the Region VI office in Denton. "Some of the high

rises have glass that could fall. Closing downtown also keeps some of

the rubberneckers out."

"This is basically an urban storm," said Norm Hein, CWS Regional

facilitator for the area, who noted that utility interruptions were

making it difficult to develop an early assessment of the extent of

the disaster in residential areas.

Hein said damage has also been reported from nearby Arlington and

Grand Prairie.

"This is a significant storm," Hein said. "From what I've heard, at

least 90 homes have some kind of damage But then again there's only been

about two hours of daylight to look at damage so far."

He said two Lutheran congregations had reported three families

needing help so far. One church was affected, with the Calvary

Cathedral International incurring major damage.

The American Red Cross had about 175 people overnight at the Will

Rogers Coliseum.

Today is being used to see how to best respond to the tornado, a

rarity for Fort Worth in north central Texas.

"Right now we're in contact with our national office and the Texas

Catholic Conference," said Karen Spicer of the Fort Worth Archdiocese of

Catholic Charities. "Father Jim Miller in Arlington has told us today

there has been damage there."

Spicer, the executive director, said immediate needs would probably

involve money to help those needing to relocate. "We're not asking

for people to bring clothes or furniture now," Spicer, executive

director, said. "Some people simply need a safe, good place to go."

Catholic Charities is also reaching out to individual parishes to

assess needs, Spicer said. "This will be an ongoing situation,"

Spicer said. "Right now, we're just putting Band-Aids on here and


The National Guard is also on alert, Passey said. "Like

everyone else, we're trying to figure out what's happened and which

structures are uninsured," Passey said.

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