A Decade Later, A Stronger Fort Worth

Fort Worth mayor says city has bounced back from devastating 2000 tornado


A decade after a tornado ripped into the heart of Fort Worth, Mayor Mike Moncrief said the city has recovered and rebounded and is better than before.

"Fort Worth came back stronger,” Moncrief said. “We came back better prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us."

On March 28, 2000, the tornado tore a path through the center of downtown, killing two people, injuring dozens more and destroying major high-rise buildings.

A second twister dropped down on parts of Arlington and Grand Prairie.

Mike Moore was at his barber shop on West Seventh Street when the tornado ripped through downtown.

"Dropped me on the ground, and then the building came down on top of me,” he remembered as he still cut hair a decade later.

Rescued in the rubble, he would spend the next week in the hospital.

NBC DFW meteorologist David Finfrock was on the air during the 6 p.m. news.

"Ah, oh, wow, look at this,” he said. “This is a live picture, and we do seem to have a tornado right in downtown Fort Worth right now."

Moncrief, then a state senator, was at dinner with his family at a restaurant just west of downtown.

"I had my grandson in my arms,” he remembered. "The sky, I'll never forget, was as green as it could be. Not blue, not red, not yellow. Green!"

Bailey Clough, just 10 years old then, was with her family at home in south Arlington.

"It was so terrifying,” Clough said. “It was scary. The walls were just shaking."

Clough, now 20 and a young mother, remembers running into the bathroom.

"I told my little brother to get under my stomach and stay there,” she said. “And I just crouched in the tub."

The family was not hurt, but the house was leveled.

Now, Fort Worth's skyline shows no clue of the war zone it looked like 10 years ago. The devastated Bank One building is now home to high-end condos. The battered Montgomery Ward warehouse is now booming with residential and retail development. And other buildings ripped apart by the tornado, such as the Cash America building, got not only a face-lift but a total redo.

But there is no doubt that the tornado left an indelible mark on the city and its people.

Moore lives with major back problems but said he is grateful to be alive.

"It was a good day for me because I'm still here!" he jokes.

And everyday thunderstorms make Clough nervous.

"Whenever you see a storm, you expect the worst,” she said.

But Moncrief said the city has rebounded from that night.

“What a difference a decade makes,” he said.

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