Harleton residents share story of stormy night - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Harleton residents share story of stormy night

By LaKecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

HARLETON, TX (KLTV) - East Texas communities were hit hard by storms Wednesday night; one town in particular was Harleton, in the western part of Harrison County. 

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado did touch down in Harleton.

The storms significantly damaged at least three businesses in Harleton: the post office, a bank next door to it, and a grocery store.

Randeep Singh has owned Wright Brothers Supermarket for only a month. Wednesday night's storms gave him a destructive welcome.

"I take this as a welcome," said Singh, smiling. "I feel welcomed...I felt the welcome."

Five people were inside the supermarket when part of its roof was torn. Cashiers, Azaria Smith and Jessica Stringfellow were two of them.

"I was in the freezer getting pizza crust out and I heard stuff hitting the roof hard and I was thinking it was like big hail," said Smith. "I could hear all the metal, like, twisting and crumbling up and the door started vibrating and I could, like, hear the glass vibrating and it was crazy."

"I was just standing here checking out a customer and I looked over to my left, and one of the doors flew open and all of a sudden the lights went out, and I ducked," said Stringfellow.

"My first concern was about the employees and the customers," said Singh. "Nobody should get injured and that was my first instinct."

From the grocery store to the city post office next door, the storm demolished the loading dock of the post office, leaving piles of bricks and wood scattered everywhere. Wednesday night the bank, had its roof torn off and a brick facade toppled. From a generator Wednesday night to workers repairing Thursday, they were open counting out cash.

From businesses to homes, the storms toppled trees on Central Avenue. One old tree fell from Walter Williams' front yard as he watched.

"By the time I opened up the front door and looked out the glass door it was over with that quick," said Williams.

Kris McNatt and her four kids hunkered down in a closet and prayed. Fortunately for them, their tree fell away from their house but toppled their daughter's tree house.

"So that's the biggest tragedy," said McNatt. "She's really upset about her tree house, but, like I said, God provided us with safety. The tree house can be fixed."

Practically all of the power has been restored to the businesses and homes in Harleton. Residents and business owners say they will deal with the damage. They are just glad that no one was hurt in the tornado.

©2010 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly