Tornado damages Mall of Mainland

No injuries were reported when the tornado hit the Mall of the Mainland

January 10, 2012 3:30:26 AM PST
A tornado moving through the Texas City area damaged the Mall of the Mainland, forcing an evacuation there yesterday.

Bruce Clawson with the Texas City Office of Emergency Management says the National Weather Service alerted them about a tornado on radar at about 1pm. At the same time, a Texas City police officer saw a tornado hit the east side of the mall, near the movie theater.

"We were all huddled down in a certain area in the store. They told us to stay still because that was away from the windows," said shopper Mable Pratt, who was inside Macy's at the time.

She stayed in that position about 30 minutes, not knowing exactly what eyewitnesses were seeing outside.

The roof of mall suffered a partial collapse and nearly every vehicle on the south side of the mall along FM 1774 had its windows blown out.

"I was a little scared yes. Having a little fright there," witness Nicole Brausen said.

Around 100 shoppers were inside the mall when the storm passed through. Portions of the mall roof collapsed and water filled the floor.

"We've got a structural wall here, a load bearing wall that's about to collapse. We'll have to have that torn down in order to make it safe for people to go back in there," Texas City Fire Marshal Dennis Harris said.

The mall will remain closed today as teams finish assessing the damage.

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