‘Round Rock strong’: Neighbors begin cleanup, rebuild

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – It’s the first of many days at work for Sam Baker as he rebuilds his tornado-ravaged home in the Forest Bluff neighborhood.

“You can see that wall behind you is folding in,” he said, pointing to the second floor.

A blue hue colored the second story of the tarp replacing the torn roof, and pink insulation lined the stairs.

“We were hit, you know, just directly – we just walked in here,” he says.

Baker rented the house to his friend, who lived there with his wife, daughter, mother and dog. They piled into a small closet under the stairs just in time.

“They’re on the phone with me, just saying, ‘The house is shaking,’ like, they walked in when the windows started breaking,” Baker recalled.

He arrived in the neighborhood to help just minutes after the tornado hit.

“There were a lot of people outside crying,” Baker said. “I saved what I could before the rain came.”

There are similar scenes in other neighborhoods. In South Creek, for example, people helped each other fell trees, remove branches and push debris off the road.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell signed a disaster declaration around 10 p.m. Monday night, saying there are millions of dollars in damage across the county.

“We believe there is at least $2 million in the La Frontera area where the tornado originally touched down,” Gravell said.

Will Medina said he was watching KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans on Monday night.

“All of a sudden David said, ‘Oh my God! Round Rock has a tornado! And as I was going to tell my wife she was cooking, the tornado came down and whoosh, whoosh, I mean, it was crazy,” Medina said.

He went out to find a trampoline in his backyard.

“I don’t know who it belongs to,” he said.

He also has a damaged roof but considers his family blessed.

“That’s what really, really matters that we’re alive,” Medina said.

He said he was grateful to his neighbours, who distributed free food and water to others as teams worked to restore power to thousands of people.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Round Rock issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it was working to assess and repair the damage, but hopes to reopen to guests at 11 a.m. Friday.

“We are extremely grateful for the support our Round Rock family has given us and are proud to be part of this incredible community,” the statement read.

A sign outside his facility reads “Round Rock strong,” a type of support that still stands in the wake of the tornado’s path.

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