Damaged Rowlett water tower torn down

- A historic water tower damaged in the 2015 tornado in Rowlett was torn down on Monday, closing a chapter for many who live in the area.

Just before 2 p.m., the tower tumbled down after standing slightly askew since the day after Christmas more than a year ago.

The tower on Martha Lane was heavily damaged by the deadly EF-3 tornado in 2015. It became a symbol of hope for the community healing from the natural disaster.

But city leaders said the 150-foot water tower was unstable and needed to come down.

"Over the past year, the Martha Lane water tower became an icon throughout our community, an unofficial symbol of Rowlett's resilience and of the bonding that occurred as a result of the tornado," said Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel. "To commemorate the closing of this chapter in our history, pieces of the structure will be preserved for use in future Arts and Humanities Commission public art installations in our community!"

Scott Carpenter has since rebuilt his home since the tornado. He's one of several residents who came out to see the 30-year-old water tower torn down.

“Frankly, I'm glad to see it go because it's kind of it's a way for us to further move on,” he said.

But others, like Cheryl Smith, said the tower’s removal was sad.

Smith and her two neighbors watched as crews removed the front legs. Four hours later, the water tower was ready to come down. It took less than 20 seconds to hit the ground. And just like that, a piece of Rowlett history was gone.

The tower has been offline for over a year, and the city has been able to function without it. It will not be replaced.

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