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Wild Storm Kills 14 In Texas Fierce Winds Fired Softball-Sized Hail At People Enjoying Outdoor Festival

Sun., May 7, 1995

A storm packing 70 mph winds fired softball-sized hail at Mayfest celebrators, then swept motorists away with flash floods in Dallas. At least 14 people died and four were missing Saturday.

About 100 were injured in the storm that pummeled north Texas on Friday night.

Ninety people were treated for mostly minor injuries ranging from cuts caused by broken glass to bruises from hailstones after the storm hit the outdoor Mayfest, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital spokeswoman Marie Chilton said.

“I got hit so hard I thought I was going to pass out and I’m not a fainting type-person,” said Kay Carlson, one of about 2,500 people at the fair when the hail grew from pea-size to softball-size. “We saw car windows being smashed everywhere.”

Within an hour, the storm that buried some roads in up to two feet of hailstones was racing on to Dallas, 30 miles away.

Patients were rushed to another floor when floodwater poured into the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, ruining electrical circuits and contaminating emergency equipment, spokeswoman Jennifer Coleman said.

At least two workers were killed and 12 were injured when the roof collapsed at the Haggar Pants Service Center warehouse, Dallas Deputy Fire Chief Steve Bass said.

“I thought the devil himself had just broke through,” janitor Jimmy Harris said.

Ten people drowned, some apparently while trying to escape flooded vehicles, a 15-year-old boy was struck and killed by lighting, and a woman died in a house fire apparently sparked by lightning, authorities said.

“People have been driving through high water. A lot try to get out and they got swept away from their cars,” Dallas Fire Department spokeswoman Carolyn Garcia said.

On Saturday afternoon, workers were still searching for four people feared swept away, Dallas Emergency Management spokesman Mark Flake said.

About 16,800 customers lost power, including an American Airlines terminal at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Forty flights were diverted, most to San Antonio; Tulsa, Okla.; Oklahoma City; and Houston, spokeswoman Marion Deesisto said.

About 600 people attending a Tommy Tune musical and Brooks & Dunn concert at a Dallas park were evacuated. No injuries were reported, but vehicles in the parking lot were tumbled about by rushing floodwater.



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