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Residents And City Officials Assess Damages And Begin Cleanup After 4 Tornadoes

 

For many San Antonio area residents it’s been a day of giving thanks for the few injuries suffered when four tornadoes tore through the area Sunday night. No one was seriously hurt, but there was plenty of damage when winds of up to 110 miles per hour slammed into buildings and homes. 
 
The San Antonio Fire Department alone reported 43 homes damaged, along with eight apartment buildings. Outside the city limits the country reported more destruction.

 
Sawing and hammering echo along Linda Drive on San Antonio’s North Side. Dozens of homes have been ransacked by a 105 mile per hour tornado that struck this neighborhood Sunday night. 

 

Brandy Campos and her family has lived in this neighborhood since 1955.

“It sounded like there was jet airplane outside or train or something like that that. It was so loud,” she says.

 

Down the street, damaging wind ripped the roof from a yellow house   Debris littered the front yard. 

 

Resident Greg Goza says this house - where his mother in law lives  - is no longer safe.

 

“We shouldn’t even be in here right now. The ceiling is still collapsing," Goza says.
 
Goza’s own home a few doors down was destroyed.
 
“The whole front part of my house just blew away. You could hear the pillars the rafters, you could hear everything,” he says.
 
Gloria and Manuel Garcia were also counting their blessings.  The vicious wind ripped the back off their house. The family room now looks like a patio.
 
“And the shed is the neighbor’s yard. We had a storage shed. But anyway, it’s okay. Thank god we have insurance and friends helping us today.”

 

There are no damage estimates yet.  Power has been restored to many who lost it, but not everyone.  And its unclear what it will take for the homes of many to be repaired and liveable.

 

 

Just outside the city limits Bexar County deployed 50 emergency responders, heavy equipment for removing debris and a command center to organize a cleanup effort.  Residents in the Glen &  Camelot II neighborhoods were hit with an EF-0 rated tornado with winds of up to 70 miles per hour. 

It traveled 1.6 miles. Residents are assessing the damage to their homes.

 

"We planted this 40 years ago when my dad first bought this house. This was nothing but dirt and we planted the trees, and there’s three of them out now. It’s horrible," Cook says.

Monica Ramos is the spokesperson for Bexar County. She says first responders, public works teams, and the fire and sheriff’s offices are all helping, but residents need to be aware of predatory practices. She says roofing and tree limb cutting companies have been driving by trying to sell their services to residents.

"Now while this might sound like a really positive way for people to get back on their feet, it can actually hurt homeowners because in most homeowner’s insurance policies, in order for a homeowner to file a claim, the insurance company has to assess the damage," Ramos says.

Sixty-seven homes in this area have been reported damaged so far. No injuries have been reported.

 

 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules
Louisa Jonas is an independent public radio producer, environmental writer, and radio production teacher based in Baltimore. She is thrilled to have been a PRX STEM Story Project recipient for which she produced a piece about periodical cicadas. Her work includes documentaries about spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Louisa previously worked as the podcast producer at WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore. There she created and produced two documentary podcast series: Natural Maryland and Ascending: Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nature Conservancy selected her documentaries for their podcast Nature Stories. She has also produced for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations Podcast. Louisa is editor of the book Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her training also includes journalism fellowships from the Science Literacy Project and the Knight Digital Media Center, both in Berkeley, CA. Most recently she received a journalism fellowship through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she traveled to Toolik Field Station in Arctic Alaska to study climate change. In addition to her work as an independent producer, she teaches radio production classes at Howard Community College to a great group of budding journalists. She has worked as an environmental educator and canoe instructor but has yet to convince a great blue heron to squawk for her microphone…she remains undeterred.