Tornado wipes out Texas auto dealership

The dealership was evacuated by the general manager about five minutes before the tornado landed. Photo credit: Michael Lavender/Twitter

A car dealership in Texas was swept away Saturday night during a tornado, reported the NBC affiliate television station in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Interstate 20 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton’s showroom and maintenance facility were decimated in the storm. Dozens of cars on the interstate were reportedly overturned.

Owner Randall Noe told NBC DFW-Channel 5 that the dealership was evacuated by the general manager about five minutes before the tornado landed.

“The crew here, the general manager, asked everybody to leave and go home because sky turned green, he said, they could start hearing the howling noise,” he said. “They did get out.”

At least four tornadoes landed in the surrounding counties, two of which exceeded winds of 140 mph, earning a “strong” tornado intensity rating, the National Weather Service said in a statement.

Several National Weather Service survey teams were deployed Monday to further assess the damage.

Robert Wardell, parts and service director at All-Star Ford-Canton, said his dealership sustained no damages while the Interstate 20 business -- just up the same street -- was, “wiped out completely.”

Search and rescue from the tornado is almost complete, according to City Secretary Debra Johnson, and a station for volunteers has been established at a local fairground.

“We’re just trying to make whatever recovery efforts we can, as soon as we can,” Johnson said.

You can reach Jackie Charniga at -- Follow Jackie on Twitter: @jccharniga

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