of Frogs braved the first deadly tornado to strike downtown Fort Worth
in 150 years.
the aftermath. When city officials allowed lawyer Jack Larson
'86 back into his BankOne Tower office, he discovered the tornado
had tucked a shard of glass neatly inside his briefcase.
city sirens began to blast at 6:15 on that muggy March evening, but Carol
Glover '88, a designer with Witherspoon & Associates, didn't hear them.
Seven minutes later, a tornado that would
kill four people touched down less than a mile from her office.
She and a colleague were on the third floor
when a co-worker called to warn them. After checking a Web report, they
headed to the stairwell. As they opened the
door, the windows exploded.
Crouched in a small basement storage room,
the two felt the foundation shake, then an eerie silence.
Eventually they clambered up the dark steps
and stood gaping at what had been their offices.
"The windows and outside walls were
gone," Glover said. "The roof was held up by a drafting table.
Cubicles and office furniture were scrambled
beyond recognition, like a giant whisk had whipped the room into a froth.
two stared out of the building in shock at the now-skeletal Calvary Cathedral
tower and heavily damaged Cash America building to the west.
"First it was terrifying, then there was
this horrible sinking feeling when I saw how much destruction had taken
place," Glover said a week later. "If our friend hadn't called, we would
have been in that room."
Eagle '81 was at the Seventh Street Barbershop with son Patton, 10, about
5:30 that day. They were supposed to have a baseball game in an hour but
when she heard the weather reports, Eagle picked up Patton's friend and
headed to her Monticello home.
The lights went out and their ears started
popping when they entered the house. The three huddled in an inner bath
as windows blew out and falling trees crushed the back half of the house.
The wind even bent the deadbolt on the front door, forcing it open.
While Eagle watched the rain pour into
the house, her husband Jim was riding out the storm in the stairwell of
the Bank One building where he works. She discovered later that the barbershop
they just left had been reduced to rubble.
John Grace '72, coach of his son's Little
League team, finally canceled that evening's game about 6 p.m. When the
storm hit, he was at home in Arlington Heights, watching the reports on
Although Grace is the marketing/leasing
director of the Bank One building and has offices there, he wasn't allowed
downtown until the next day.
"When I saw it for the first time, I was
just sick to my stomach," he said. "There was everyone's livelihood scattered
all over the place. I could not believe no one in the building got killed."
Fred Oberkircher, director of TCU's Center
for Lighting Education, was at a meeting in the Modern Art Museum's storefront
gallery downtown when the group noticed the rain outside swirling in an
Seconds later the windows on the corner
location blew in with a boom. The
small interior kitchen was suddenly wall to wall people as the 45 attendees
rushed in together. Remarkably, no one was hurt.
"Later, when I was drying off my hair at
home, that's when I got cut," Oberkircher said. "There were little glass
shards all through my hair."
Jack Larson '86 and his law associates
were working late in their new Bank One office suite, following a week
of moving into the space from another floor. They were still in the conference
room when they saw the darkness headed their way. They stood watching
curiously until one of them noted with quiet alarm that there was "stuff"
in the clouds.
Seconds later they were racing down 27
flights of stairs.
"As we passed each floor, there was paper
and debris and a terrific wind blowing in under the doors," he said.
When it stopped, they trudged back up 27
calve-killing flights to find the windows gone and the suite torn to shreds.
Later than night, Larson drove home to his Firestone Apartment home, where
all the windows were blown out.
Several days later, from a temporary office
provided by StuartBacon ad firm owner Jim Stuart '71, Larson summed up
what many felt after enduring the storm first-hand.
"I used to think there was a limit
to what I could handle," he said. "Now I think I can deal with