Lubbock Man Shares Never Before Seen Footage Of 1970 Tornado Destruction - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/11/05

Lubbock Man Shares Never Before Seen Footage Of 1970 Tornado Destruction

The tornado carved a path of destruction 25 square miles right through the heart of Lubbock. We bring you never before seen footage of the devastation left behind.

Before the debris was cleared away, one Lubbock man managed to capture his own personal footage and shares it with the public for the first time in 35 years.

"I didn't think this film would ever see the light of day. That's why I've never shown it before. It's just been in a can for 35 years and I haven't seen it for 25 at least," explains Jack Rigney. He filmed footage of the destruction caused by the tornado the day after it hit, 35 years later he looks back at the images he captured.

"It's just utter destruction. "The area between Main Street and 4th Street between Avenue Q and Avenue K was demolished," he says.

Jack began his quest for footage downtown, the hub of Lubbock. "You can see the barricades to keep people out incase the building fell over. They were really afraid the Great Plains Life Building would fall over at first," says Jack. The building never collapsed but he says the clean up was monumental. "Street cleaners cleaning up glass mostly. A lot of debris and then there's the National Guard coming down the street. This is the Broadway church of Christ building, it lost a roof," he points out.

Moving past downtown, Jack says he discovered other areas of damage. "There's Tech stadium with the lights bent over, just unbelievable. Then we drove around the North Loop and there was a lot of damage in this area. Sheet metal every where. This is an underpass full of water - rumor was there was a bus down in there with children in it so they sent down divers and of course there was nothing there," explains Jack.

On his journey of capturing this footage, Jack says what amazed him the most wasn't the this destruction but the people who came together to put Lubbock back together.

"Everybody pitching in, strangers helping each other. We really came together and that's what I remember the most," he adds.

Jack owns Rigney Auto Parts, one of the only businesses left in downtown Lubbock. He tells us he was lucky because his store only had minor damages.

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NewsChannel 11 asked you to send us YOUR stories of survival from the 1970 tornado. Here are the e-mails that we received from out viewers.
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A Life Forever Changed by 1970 Tornado
On May 11th 1970 Lubbock was changed forever. Two tornados swept through the city with no warning, killing 26 people, injuring hundreds and destroying downtown Lubbock. One of those lost was 8-year-old Angela Mora, her sister Patricia was one of the injured.
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Remembering the 1970 Tornado
The F-5, which is the highest a tornado can be rated, struck Lubbock on May 11th, 1970. It killed 26 people and injured hundreds. Retired Lubbock Police Information Officer, Bill Morgan remembers the disaster like it was yesterday, recalling the strange colors in the sky.
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Take a look at the special reports on NewsChannel 11 from the past.

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