A week ago, an EF4 tornado ripped through Garland and other North Texas communities. First responders and other emergency personnel were quickly on the scene. More than 1000 homes were damaged, of those more than 200 were destroyed or left uninhabitable. We have moved through several phases in response to the disaster, from search and rescue to now cleaning up and recovering.
The scenes of destruction are amazing and demonstrate the power of a large tornado. But none compares to the even more amazing spirits of the citizens impacted and their determination. Just as impressive has been the outpouring of support and love from volunteers and others wanting to help those caught in the tornado. Hands, materials, money and offers of assistance have been flowing to our city since moments after the storm. We are eternally thankful for the first responders, state troopers, and others from sister cities and agencies that have stood with us the whole time. I have had so many mayors and cities offer their assistance and we have benefitted from it over and over. Every elected official from the state and federal level that represents the area has visited or personally offered support, as have so many others that represent and serve the adjoining areas.
While there were a hundred miracles of lives saved, we are saddened that eight did not survive the tornado. Our hearts and prayers go to their family and friends on this, their hardest holiday season ever.
The storm invaded our community for only minutes but the effects will linger for quite some time. The City of Garland is dedicated to helping our residents move beyond this disaster and to help them resume their normal lives, as are the school district and all other local and state jurisdictions. We have established a single location to assist residents and volunteers, the Disaster Recovery Center.
We were a very strong community before the tornado and we're an even stronger community after.
Here are some important resource and status updates:
UPDATES - The City is posting updates and resource information to GarlandTx.gov, click on the 2015 Tornado Information page. Updates are also posted to Twitter (@garlandtxgov) and Facebook (City of Garland, Texas Government).
RECOVERY ASSISTANCE – A Recovery Assistance Center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, at Granger Recreation Center, 1310 W. Avenue F. Proof of residency within the storm area will be requested. Also check the Tornado Information page for details and updates.
DEBRIS REMOVAL - Removal of storm-related debris will begin in the affected areas on Monday, Jan. 4. Residents should put storm-related debris at the street curbline. The first round of debris removal will last three to four weeks. Check the Tornado Information page for more details and schedule updates.
REGULAR TRASH, RECYCLING PICKUP – Due to the holiday, the remainder of the Friday collection area will be picked up on Saturday, Jan. 2 including waste, brush and bulky goods. Recycle collection will follow the regularly scheduled pick up on Friday, Jan. 8. EWS will only pick up normal household waste. Storm debris will be removed by the contractor as described above.
EWS will only pick up normal household waste. They will not pick up concrete or construction materials. This is the responsibility of the homeowner’s insurance company. If you have questions regarding disaster related debris removal, please call 972-205-3366.
DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS & IMPACT – Eight people were killed when the tornado hit. At least 15 people were transported to area hospitals. One remains in critical condition. The tornado impacted approximately 1.92 square miles. As of 1/1/2016, affecting 1,100 structures. 216 structures are deemed unsafe and 130 have restricted access.
FREE TETANUS SHOTS – The Garland Public Health Clinic is offering free tetanus shots to storm victims. The clinic is located at 206 Carver Drive and is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Low-cost flu shots are also available. Call 972-205-3370 for more information.
GARLAND POWER & LIGHT – GP&L has restored power to the impacted area. All green-tagged homes and businesses should have power. Call the outage reporting line at 972-205-3000 to report ongoing outages.
LOST PETS – Garland Animal Services has taken in 15 lost pets and reunited five of those with their owners. Visit GarlandAnimalServices.org and click on “Lost Pets.”