By A.C. Hall and Cheryl Posey
Brewer High School and Tannahill Intermediate both lost power in an early morning storm Tuesday that wreaked havoc on the BHS campus and put all White Settlement ISD schools into Tornado mode around 8 a.m. Heavy storms and severe winds blew through White Settlement, Benbrook, Lake Worth, Aledo and most other area communities and brought at least three confirmed E1 tornadoes to the area.
As residents awoke to the wailing of emergency sirens around 8:00 a.m, area schools were just getting underway, and some parents were forced by the storms to come inside the schools with their students to escape the possible storm danger. When Tannahill Intermediate and BHS lost power during the storm, other issues with a backup generator caused all WSISD schools to go without phone or Internet until 12:45 p.m. Power was restored at Tannahill by 9:30 a.m. but remained out until about 10:15 a.m. at the high school.
Although the sirens and urgency of the situation could have caused chaos, BHS teacher Isabelle Canard said students followed procedure and handled the situation calmly.
“We moved into middle of building classrooms, teacher lounges, and restrooms that have no glass. Kids were super cooperative and moved quickly! Very proud of the Bears!” Canard said.
The area around Brewer High School was a monument to the power of the storm that rolled through. A billboard near the entrance of the school was bent completely in half, the metal supports twisted sideways. There were multiple reports of broken windows on vehicles at the school as well as some cracked windows on the high school building itself.
“We had a couple of windows break and bring in water on the lower floor,” Canard said. “Just about every car on the east side parking lot had windows blown out and shattered by flying debris. It hit fast and poured rain into the cars for 2 1/2 hours.”
Canard said after the storm the administrative teams and teachers spent some time taping up car windows and assessing other campus damage.
Desiree Coyle, communications director for the WSISD, said damage occurred all over the BHS campus.
“The school suffered cracked windows and skylights as well as some damage to the fences around the tennis courts, damage to the soccer goals and damage to track and field equipment,” Coyle said.
Just down Loop 820, Tarrant County College sustained damage to a building when high winds ripped bricks off the side of a building leaving them piled in a heap outside an entrance.
Scenes of damage and wreckage were present on nearly every street in west Fort Worth and White Settlement. Downed tree limbs and fences were joined in streets and yards by wayward trash cans and other assorted lawn and porch decorations. One Facebook post from an area resident showed a photo of an upended trampoline in their yard, asking if anyone in the area was missing it.
Another Facebook post said a man and his immediate family had spent the morning in a closet with “the wife, kids, daughter, grandkids and the dog. The weather got real bad, real fast,” he said.