A Year Later, Arlington Businesses Struggle To Recover From Thanksgiving Tornado

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One year after a tornado with 115 mile-per-hour winds hit Arlington just before Thanksgiving, damaged buildings are still being repaired and some businesses have not reopened.

Residents said insurance negotiations, along with supply shortages and inflation contributed to a slow rebuilding process already made difficult by the pandemic.

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The EF-2 tornado spun through the center of the city November 24, 2020. Though its path took it through a crowded commercial district, large apartment complexes and neighborhoods, just three people suffered minor injuries along the five-mile path.

“It’s been a whole year,” said Candace Reddick Wednesday, at the Burger Box restaurant where she works on S. Cooper St. “A long year!”

The Burger Box was prominent in picture of the damage after the storm, where debris trapped cars in the drive-through line.

The restaurant was closed for three months. Then as it was about to reopen, the winter storm in February closed it down again. Reddick, who took shelter with other employees in a freezer the night of the tornado, credited the community with helping the business survive.

“The community has been great. Customers, man I’m telling you, it’s been great. Business has never been better since after this happened,” she said.

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On the other side of Cooper St. though, one of the buildings hit by the tornado is now gone. A large concrete slab is all that’s left where several automotive business were located.

Joanna Ulloa said the day after the storm last year she was worried about how Ulloa Monster Place, a repair shop, would recover. In a message Wednesday her husband said they were no longer open.

Saad Upholstery was in the same building. The business moved a couple miles away to Division St. near other automotive shops. An owner though said this week that the location change, and resulting customer loss, had put them in the position of likely closing the business soon.

There was repair working still happening Wednesday at the Mirage apartment complex where as many as three dozen units are still in the process of being refurbished due to storm damage. There is still blue tarp on some corners of the roof. Next door at the Waterdance apartments brick walls that fell have been patched up with painted plywood.

New sections of fence along Pioneer Parkway stand out where they were replaced. One resident said while his home was secure, there were still some walls where electricity and brick work is waiting to be repaired.

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60 families were originally displaced after the storm hit. The warning came late, eight minutes after the tornado had already hit, according to a presentation the city’s fire chief gave to the city council in December 2020.

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth