'Our House Is On Top Of Us:' 911 Calls Capture Frantic Moments As Tornado Strikes Garland | KERA News

'Our House Is On Top Of Us:' 911 Calls Capture Frantic Moments As Tornado Strikes Garland

Dec 30, 2015

The city of Garland has released some of the first 911 calls from Saturday night’s tornadoes. They’re dramatic. 

A storm spotter offers a first description of the EF-4 tornado that hit Garland. A woman calls in, saying her house has fallen on top of her and she can't move. 

'It's a big, a very large tornado'

Here’s a National Weather Service storm spotter speaking to a 911 dispatcher in Garland:

Caller: “I am in Rockwall, sitting on the hill by the lake. I am watching a tornado on the ground coming through Sunnyvale, coming into Garland, near the DPS office at Beltline … just south of 30 it is moving north, a large wedge-shaped tornado on the ground.”

911 Operator: “Is the tornado on the ground?”

Caller: “The tornado is on the ground. It is big, a very large tornado. … It’s fixing to cross I-30. We need to shut traffic down I-30.”

'The whole roof is gone'

Caller: “The tornado just came through our house and our whole entire living room and dining room, the whole roof, is, like, gone. We smell something burning but we have like five children in this house.”

911 Operator: “A tornado just came through your home, ma’am?”

Caller: “Yes, well, it came over our home.”

'Our house is on top of us'

Caller: “Our house fell on top of us and we’re trying to find my niece. We’re trying to find my niece and my mom.”

911 Operator: “Your house is on you ma’am?”

Caller: “Our house is on top of us … I can’t move. Our niece is missing. My mom is missing.”

911 Operator: “Are you able to move?”

Caller: ”No, I cannot move. I have the house on top of me.”

911 Operator: “I have help on the way to you. Just stay calm, OK? Just keep breathing.”

About the tornadoes

Ten tornadoes struck North Texas Saturday evening. The National Weather Service identified a 10th tornado in north-central Collin County. The weather service initially thought the damage path, located near Farmersville, was associated with the tornado that hit Copeville. The weather service says eyewitness accounts and evidence from radar suggest that the damage is separate and indicative of an EF1 tornado.

Preliminary insurance estimates from the Insurance Council of Texas indicate the tornadoes caused at least $1.2 billion in damage.