Fifth Season: Jacksboro reflects on tornado one year later

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 8:11 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Nearly one year ago to the day, the City of Jacksboro was hit by an EF3 tornado which caused damage across town.

“Driving up to the elementary, it looked like a war zone on the front side of the elementary facing the main street. I had to backtrack through the neighborhood just to get to the school. Seeing all of the overturned cars, all the destruction to the backside of the school, then wading through the water to get to the tornado hallways and everything,” Jacksboro Chief of Police Scott Haynes said.

The tornado hit the schools while students were being let out for the day, and the tornado was headed straight for the elementary school.

“We had parents in car lines, and students waiting to get picked up by buses. We made the decision to halt all that, which proved to be a very valuable decision. Even though we sustained substantial damage to our buildings and our facilities, there were no serious injuries sustained by our students, staff, or parents,” Superintendent Brad Burnett said.

No lives were lost throughout the whole city, but the tornado left an impact throughout the city.

Haynes said debris removal was a huge challenge to get the city back up and running, such as clearing roadways.

While the elementary school building was being rebuilt, First Baptist Church of Jacksboro turned its place of worship into a temporary school for over a month.

“It was a terrible circumstance for everyone but out of it, there was an opportunity made for us to be of service to our community, and what a joy it was,” Pastor Jack Maddox said.

Nearby communities also lent a helping hand to the city.

“We had surrounding school districts that donated money and school supplies. We were overwhelmed with the amount of support we had from our neighboring districts and even all across the state,” Burnett said.

According to Burnett, the city of Jacksboro still has a lot of structures in the community that still need repair.

The animal shelter was demolished and a new building is expected to be finished in the Summer of 2023.

They have temporary wall structures at both the elementary and high schools, which are expected to be fixed by January 2024.

“Knowing the people like I know the people now, it shouldn’t surprise me. Of course, we would be where we are because our folks here in Jacksboro just really went to work. We didn’t have time to complain, whine, or anything else, we had to get busy and we have,” Maddox said