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CNN Today

Twister-Stricken Fort Worth Tries to Get Back on its Feet

Aired March 29, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Rescue crews are conducting floor-by- floor searches of downtown Fort Worth's skyscrapers. And broken panes of glass are being pushed from their casings, crashing on the sidewalks below.

Twin tornadoes struck the Fort Worth area at the dinner hour. Patrons of a posh restaurant at the top of a downtown high-rise bolted from their tables to seek shelter. The twisters also tore through a residential area. At least three people died; scores were injured; dozens now are homeless.

And power company crews still are at work, restoring electricity to thousands of their customers.

CNN national correspondent Tony Clark is in Fort Worth today.

Tony, what's the story there?

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the city is trying to get back on its feet. In fact, the clean-up effort already under way.

If you can look behind me, if you can look down Main Street here in downtown Fort Worth, and you can see the kind of debris that was left: glass, broken glass all on the ground. Other debris that has come as those two twin tornadoes ripped through the city.

The thing that is causing the most concern here, though, are the high-rises with all of the broken glass. The UPR Plaza building, a mirror- glassed building, just a block away from me, has a window after a window broken out.

And the spokesman for the fire department, Fort Worth's fire department, Lieutenant Ken Worley says it's because of buildings like that that the center section of the city may be closed throughout the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN WORLEY, FORT WORTH FIRE DEPARTMENT: Our concerns right now are that we do have seven to eight buildings here in the downtown area that have large pieces of glass in various stages of being broken, hanging precariously in their frames that if they were to break loose, there is no telling where they are going to land. They can go for several blocks; obviously, do major damage. So, those areas around those buildings, we will continue to keep closed off until we can get up there and take care of those problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK: And the damage's not been limited to downtown high-rises; the residential area of Arlington, Texas, just to the east of Fort Worth. Houses were smashed, trees toppled, and cars overturned.

You can see as residents were kind of assessing the damage today and trying to pick up, salvage what they could from the rubble. The tornado left many people homeless here. And it will be days, weeks before they get their lives back on track.

One other thing: To the west of town, there is a light industrial area. That's the area that is the primary area for the search-and-rescue crews. Fire officials say they don't believe anyone is unaccounted for at this point. But they are making a check of some of the collapsed buildings, just to be sure that no one is trapped and missed in the initial searches last night -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, Tony Clark, keeping watch in Fort Worth, Texas, today, where those twin tornadoes ripped through last evening.

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