GREENVILLE, Texas - There is widespread damage in the Hunt County town of Greenville after a reported tornado.
Severe storms swept through Hunt County just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, leaving a trail of downed trees and power lines and damage to buildings.
Many churches were having services or bible study on Wednesday night. That was the case at Highland Terrace Baptist Church on the outskirts where families were gathered with their pastors when part of the roof was torn off.
A little farther northeast of the church, there were multiple buildings in Downtown Greenville with serious damage. Initial reports from first responders say the downtown area was the hardest hit.
Police, sheriff's deputies and DPS troopers have been working together to keep some areas blocked off that have down power lines and polls.
The roof of one business in downtown ripped off and ended up crumpled in the street. A classic car business had its glass windows blown out. Several traffic lights leading into downtown are not working.
With the damage affecting such a densely populated area, the initial call-out for first responders was significant.
One downtown business worker was trying to head home as the storm hit.
“It just picked the roof off and threw it up in the air and it fell in the parking lot,” said Randy Whitley. “The rest of it's on top of my roof over here.”
Highland Terrace Baptist Church had part of its roof ripped off in the storm and chunks of the roof lodged in other parts of the building. Church leaders say there's extensive damage inside. They tried to cancel Wednesday's services ahead of the storm, but it was too late. The group of people who were there, including some children, took cover in the stairwell. Thankfully no one was hurt.
“We have two gaping holes in our sanctuary. And inside, there's a lot of debris and insulation everywhere,” said Pastor Chet Haney. “If you can see this spot over here, that actually my granddaughter’s Sunday school. It's like a bomb went off. We're gonna be quite a while getting the building repaired.”
Crews have already started the process of cleaning up and covering up the gaping holes in the church's roof.
Church leaders aren't sure what they're going to do for Sunday services yet, but they say they'll likely come up with some sort of backup plan so they can still move forward.
There were no reports of serious injuries.