Residents of devastated Granbury area register for access to homes

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by JOBIN PANICKER, MARCUS MOORE and MARJORIE OWENS

WFAA

Posted on May 17, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 9:30 AM

GRANBURY — Residents of the Rancho Brazos subdivision that was devastated in Wednesday's tornado lined up Saturday morining to get their first close-up look at the damage.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said based on initial plans, they hope to open damage zone to authorized homeowners until 8 p.m. He said those who want to enter the neighborhood must first register by calling the Hood County Fire Marshal's Office at 817-579-3335.

The American Red Cross has established a new Disaster Resource Center at the Church of Christ, 1908 West Pearl Street in Granbury to assist tornado victims. The center will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Twenty-two people who were affected by the Hood County tornadoes spent Friday night at the Red Cross shelter at First Christian Church in Granbury; that shelter remained open on Saturday.

JPS Health Network in Fort Worth said Saturday that two of the five patients admitted in the wake of the Granbury storm were discharged. Of the three who remain hospitalized, one was in serious condition and two were reported in good condition.

In Johnson County, the Red Cross closed a tornado shelter at the Cleburne Senior Center Saturday after all residents whose homes were damaged indicated they have a safe place to stay.

Ennis city officials said fewer than 50 customers remained without power on Saturday morning, down from an estimated 3,000 in the hours after the tornado struck. Only Ennis Avenue between Sherman Street and Main Street remained closed.

About 40 square blocks in Ennis were yet to be cleared of debris.

Authorities in Hood County announced Friday that there are no more people reported missing after an EF-4 tornado left six people dead and the whereabouts of over a dozen people unknown.

"At this time, there are no missing people reported to officials," said Sheriff Deeds in a statement released Friday morning.

Meanwhile, many survivors are working to get back to see what's left of their homes and work continued to clear debris in two Granbury neighborhoods devastated in the Wednesday storms.

"It just looked like going to a garbage dump," said Mateo Tort, 12, while surveying the damage in his neighborhood.

His father, John Tort, said the family is ready for the next stage in the aftermath of the tornado.

"We want to get in there and start cleaning up and rebuild and move on with our lives," he said.

Crews have been working with various companies to restore utilities to the affected areas.

Sheriff Roger Deeds said officials are also working on a plan to get people back into the Rancho Brazos Estates to survey damage and collect personal belongings from their homes.

That neighborhood is virtually unrecognizable. There are no water lines and power has yet to return to the area.

"That is destruction that is incomprehensible to explain," said Gov. Rick Perry after touring the damage.

Gov. Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott were joined by Nim Kidd, assistant director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds on a tour of the devastated city Friday.

"What always amazes me on visits like this is how fast lives can totally change," he said. "Just two days ago, these streets were lined with houses not unlike any others you might find anywhere in Texas."

Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerman thanked first responders and all those who reached out to help the county after the storms.

"They have just been wonderful," he said of those who showed up to donate items. "As a matter of fact, we've had to turn people away we've had so many."

Volunteers like Constance Wall vowed to return to Granbury on Saturday to continue the relief effort. There's much to do and, thankfully, there are strangers willing to do it. 

"I just want to help, everyone's coming together; it's a beautiful thing in such a horrible situation," Wall said.

News 8's Teresa Woodard contributed to this report

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