One Year After Tornadoes; Many Glenn Heights Neighbors Return

As NBCDFW warned of a tornado closing in on Ovilla and Glenn Heights on December 26, 2015, Zachary James, Sr. was at ground zero.

"First it got really quiet and then my wife, her ears popped, and she said 'baby, it's here!," said Glenn Heights resident Zachary James, Sr. "The whole house shook, the windows blew out."

After the twister passed over, James walked outside to see his neighborhood along Trishia Lane in ruins. Many homes were leveled by the EF3 tornado. Several vehicles were turned over. While people in other parts of North Texas had been seriously injured or killed, no one in Glenn Heights or Ovilla died as a result of the storm.

In the year since, James, Sr. had more than his own house to worry about. He is a general contractor who owns Zack's Construction Company.

"I've rebuilt 15 homes right here in Glenn Heights that were tornado damaged," said James, Sr.

Many homes have been rebuilt but where homeowners owed more on their mortgages than they had in insurance coverage, empty foundation slabs remain.

Down the street, Omar Campos was more fortunate than some of his neighbors. His reconstruction was completed last August. He and his wife watched in horror as power lines fell and transformers exploded as the tornado passed through.

"The tree ridge line [behind his house], it just literally looked like bombs were going off... blue, purple,yellow, green," said Campos. 

He and his wife raced back inside and took cover in the bathroom.

"Fifteen seconds are fast but those were probably the longest 15 seconds of our lives," said Campos.

Campos' mother stayed with them at the time of the storm. She was devastated when her pet cat disappeared.. for awhile.

"It took about, almost two weeks, but she finally came back," said Campos. 

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