One Year since an F-3 tornado hit Pasadena and Deer Park, some damaged areas are still being repaired

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Patricia Ortiz
Pasadena Animal Shelter has received a new roof after it was damaged by a tornado in January 2023.

The Pasadena Animal Shelter will have a grand reopening in February after a powerful tornado tore off its roof last year.

On January 24 of last year, an EF-3 tornado ripped through parts of Pasadena and Deer Park. The tornado had a maximum wind speed of 140 mph and left more than 20,000 homes without power.

Residents who visit the animal shelter now will find staff and animals working from the adoption center next door. Pasadena’s city council approved $3.2 million to go toward shelter repairs in February last year. Pasadena’s Director of Community Relations, Rex Lindberg, said at the time that the shelter was due for renovations because it was built around 20 years ago.

Brandi Bass is the marketing specialist for the Pasadena Animal Shelter. She says the roof has since been replaced, but there are still other repairs in progress.

“Electrical, HVAC, so all those things took extra time to fix, so when it came to some of the other items that needed to be fixed, it was all about re-stabilizing and revitalizing the shelter. If a tornado happens again, the shelter will be best prepared to handle it,” she said.

Dogs at animal shelter
Patricia Ortiz
A dog at the animal adoption center in Pasadena.

Bass said the shelter has relied a lot on fosters throughout the past year because the shelter has been operating at 15% capacity.

“With intakes still being high, it has been tough, but we’ve been trying to do different things and utilize different programs to get the community to come out,” she said.

Currently, the shelter is offering discounted adoption fees for the month of January and a resident sponsored 59 adoptions earlier this week. Bass said they are at capacity at the moment, but the community has been coming regularly to the shelter.

Parts of Deer Park are seeing some reconstruction as well, like the locally recognized “Skate World” which lost about 140 feet of cinderblock wall from the tornado. At the time, the owner of Skate World said a manager of the skate park was inside the building when the tornado hit.

“I had a manager here who is actually seven months pregnant, and I told her to get in the corner and get out of the office. She called me back not even two minutes later, and all I could hear was the wind and her screaming at the top of her lungs. But she was the only person here, and she is safe,” he said.

On social media, the company announced construction was starting in September last year.

“We still don’t have an opening date yet but we’re planning for spring of 2024,” the post says.