Firefighters burn debris from powerful Central Texas tornado

(Robertson County Sheriff's Office photo)
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FRANKLIN, Texas (KWTX) Volunteer firefighters Monday in Franklin set fire to a large pile of debris collected in the aftermath of the powerful EF-3 tornado that struck the small Central Texas community in April.

“Please expect lots of smoke in the area and for this fire to burn for several days,” the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Monday.

Firefighters ignited the pile at around 9 a.m. Monday and say it could burn for as long as 10 days.

The city, meanwhile, is providing dumpsters in which residents can dump debris.

Officials are asking residents to call city hall at (979) 828-3257 to find out which location to use.

The EF-3 tornado on April 14 destroyed 55 homes, two churches, four businesses, a food pantry, a duplex and part of the local housing authority building on the south side of Franklin, causing an estimated $3.8 million in damage.

More than a dozen people were injured, but none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Just two were hospitalized.

The EF-3 tornado that struck Franklin formed at 10:50 a.m. April 14 just west of the Brazos River in western Milam County six miles northwest of Hearne and cut an almost 33-mile-long path before dissipating after almost an hour.

The tornado moved to the east-northeast, crossing U.S. Highway 6 about 4 ½ miles north of Hearne.

EF-1 damage was found at one structure near the spot where the tornado crossed the highway along with considerable tree damage.

The tornado then headed east-northeast to Franklin where the most significant damage, consistent with an EF-3 storm, occurred along a two-block corridor on the south side of the town.

Damage to other structures on the south side of Franklin was consistent with EF-1 and EF-2 tornadoes.

From Franklin, the tornado headed east-northeast along U.S. Highway 79, crossing the Navasota River and entering far western Leon County, leaving snapped tree trunks and branches in its wake consistent with EF-0 intensity, before dissipating at 11:45 a.m. four miles south-southwest of Marquez.

The tornado traveled 32.63 miles with a maximum width of 250 yards and had peak winds of 140 miles per hour when it struck Franklin.