HomeTop StoriesNorth Texas tornado survivors shed tears, calling experience 'traumatic'

North Texas tornado survivors shed tears, calling experience ‘traumatic’

Trail of destruction left behind in North Texas community where seven people were killed


Trail of destruction left behind in North Texas community where seven people were killed

02:19

VALLEY VIEW — Support for tornado recovery wasn’t hard to find for Jeff Collinsworth. His family and loved ones pitch in as he tackles the damage to his home of two decades.

The tornado that killed seven people hit newly developed homes and continued into the Collinsworth neighborhood at 2133 County Rd.

“I looked west here and all I saw was a giant flash,” he said. “I mean, I don’t know, I can’t even explain it.”

Collinsworth said the windows in his house exploded, so he grabbed his dog, covered them with towels and held the door. He said he knew his life was over, but hoped for a different outcome.

“And then you just heard a roar. I mean, I can’t even explain the sound. It was deafening,” Collinsworth said.

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The Valley View man said the storm was shaking his house back and forth. It became even more terrifying as the powerful wind began to knock him off the floor.

Once the tornado passed, it took a while for Collinsworth to come out. He kept hearing screams, he said. It was his neighbor, but Collinsworth doesn’t speak English.

‘And I heard him shouting. And I grabbed a flashlight and went over there, three people in the rubble here,” Collinsworth said.

But he saw the need for it. Collinsworth said his neighbor had a broken arm. The man’s mother became trapped under the rubble. With the help of others she was released. But the neighbor’s grandfather did not survive. Collinsworth said he also suffered broken limbs. He said emergency services were overwhelmed with calls and could not get to the scene in time.

A water authority created a pond behind Collinsworth’s home, where emergency services found two dead children, a two-year-old and a five-year-old. Investigators said a tornado sucked the family from their home.

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“My wife says: you stay or you go,” Nicolas Navarez said. “I say…I’m going!”

Navarez has lived on the same street where the children were murdered for eleven years. He said the family recently moved.

The 45-year-old father of four and husband said his family left safely and returned home. But the damage was significant.

Navarez sleeps in his truck at night to protect their belongings. He said they lost food due to the power outage. While community members have been dropping off food, he is looking for someone to help him cover his house before the forecast rain moves in.

“And when you see it in real life, like in real life,” Navarez said.

Navarez’s reflection on the impact brought him to tears.

“The unknown. Just the uncertainty. The power of what’s going on,” Collinsworth said. “The whole house is shaking beneath you.”

Even with the help of neighbors and loved ones, the sounds of recovery can still be terrifying.

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At night, hearing the guy screaming and hearing the tornado and the roar and everything, that’s the hardest part,” Collinsworth said.

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