Rockwall homes destroyed by overnight storms


Strong winds are to blame for damaging or destroying at least 20 homes in the Dalton Ranch subdivision of Rockwall overnight.

The National Weather Service says there wasn't a tornado, but winds did reach up to 95 miles per hour. Building inspectors have condemned at least three homes.

Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt said one person was hurt and taken to the hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

“You can see with the damage that you have behind me here how substantial that is with someone waking up at 3:30 a.m. and that kind of thing only to have one person injured,” the mayor said.

Video from SKY 4 showed homes with their roofs and walls torn off. One home appeared to be leaning. Surveillance video from another neighbor shows the debris flying around his driveway.

Rockwall firefighters retrieved homeowner’s belongings from severely damaged houses. One woman says she was rescued by her neighbor after locking herself in the master bathroom as the storm ripped her house apart.

Residents said they are still in shock and aren’t sure what to make of it all.

“This wall on this side over here had tons of nail pops because the amount of pressure from the wind or whatever it was pushed everything in and of course it pushed all those nails out. So you can see where all the nails are in the wall now,” said Jerry Harwood, who lives in the neighborhood.

Tiphannie Willie-Clements and her 10-year-old son were fast asleep when the storm hit.

“The house started shaking and rumbling. And with that next five seconds, it felt like it exploded,” she recalled.

“There were no sirens,” the 10-year-old said. “That's why it was kind of unexpected.”

Dylan said a lesson from the movie "Sharknado" helped keep him safe.

Their house a total loss, but one precious item saved: Tiphannie's late father’s jacket.

Kris Kinnamon ran to get his fiancé and his 8-year-old stepdaughter to hide in the closet for safety. They had just moved there two months ago. They were remodeling the bedrooms, so everyone was sleeping downstairs and away from the worst damage. 

"There were huge chunks of glass all over her bed and her bedroom," she said. "So if she would've been up there, she would've been seriously injured."

By many accounts, the worst of the storm only lasted a couple minutes. Witnesses say one man was blown out of his bedroom but landed on his mattress in the front yard.

Neighbors came out of their homes to find roofs ripped off, brick and debris strewn about, insulation stuck to trees and glass on the ground.

By the afternoon, residents were cleaning up glass and debris. Some less affected by the damage brought food for first responders and looked for ways to help their neighbors.

“Even though they've had damage to their houses, they are worried about their neighbors who are less fortunate than them,” Mayor Pruitt said.

Rockwall police will be there throughout the night to escort residents in and out to get their belongings.

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