Ennis surveys tornado damage at first light
Phil Banker and Nick Todaro,
At daybreak, people from areas of Ennis unaffected by the storm event overnight woke to a dramatic scene in downtown Ennis.
City Manager Steve Howerton has confirmed reports that a tornado tore through the heart of downtown shortly after midnight, damaging a number of buildings and injuring one person.
First responders from throughout the county flooded into the city, closing off the most damaged portion of West Ennis Avenue from Clay Street to Interstate 45.
Traffic resumed east of downtown before daybreak.
The American Red Cross has set up an incident response location in downtown at Brown and Dallas streets.
Howerton said damages will likely climb into the tens of millions of dollars once thoroughly assessed.
“We’re going to do an aerial assessment later this morning,” he said.
Mayor Russell Thomas issued a disaster declaration shortly after 3 a.m. that has been sent to Gov. Rick Perry’s office.
“It’s a pretty rough one,” Thomas said as traffic began crawling around downtown. “Property is one thing, though, human life is another — that’s the truth.”
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