By James Bell, Esquire
Special Contributor

The recent tornadoes In Dallas caused an unprecedented swath of destruction in the Preston Hollow area. The EF-3 tornado completely demolished some homes and damaged others, as well as several structures. As an attorney who represents folks whose homes and property are devastated by perils such as these windstorms, when I first learn about these catastrophes, my thoughts naturally turn to the legal rights of the affected property owners. I hope their insurance companies will step up and do the right thing for their policyholders who have been faithfully paying their insurance premiums, praying they never need to file a claim, but believing that, if they should, they will be taken care of by their providers.

Sadly, we know that is not always the case. However, there are some things you can and should do when a disaster strikes your property.

I don’t think we can ever remind people enough about some of the essential steps to take for a proper recovery on an insurance claim, particularly a multimillion-dollar home: (more…)

North Dallas Tornado

Tyler Seguin’s property on Camilla Lane before the North Dallas tornado.

We all know by now that the North Dallas tornado has devastated Preston Hollow. And a lot of you know Dallas Star’s center Tyler Seguin’s mansion on Camellia Drive was struck. What you may not know is that it was beautifully staged by Lisa Stapp, the owner of Staged by Stapp. Along with Seguin’s home, about $55,000 worth of Stapp’s inventory of furniture and accessories were destroyed.

While it may pale in comparison to losing a house worth a couple of million, the livelihoods of those that serve in the real estate community have also been severely affected by the North Dallas tornado.

North Dallas Tornado

The home is completely destroyed after the North Dallas Tornado struck.

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It’s a little south of Preston Hollow at 4319 Glenwood Avenue, but this original home with updates throughout will embrace you and yours until your home is repaired. Large rooms and beautiful yard, open patio and sunroom. Big plus: three-car carport with storage closet. There are three bedrooms, three full baths, and 3,036 square feet. Oh and pets are welcome! Listed with Martin Stevenson at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International. Jump for MORE! (more…)


I got around a bit more today with the streets clearing, and of course, like you, cannot believe the devastation.

But I had to share this photo, 7715 Some Street wiped out by last week’s twister.

Question: why don’t we name tornadoes like we do hurricanes? Names would add another layer of information to the warnings, which could waste time with seconds to spare because these nasty buggers come up FAST!  

if we did name them, what would we call the one that hit us October 20?

I would recommend that tornadoes be named after vicious animals and poisonous snakes. A few suggestions would be – Tornado Asp, TornadoViper, Tornado Rattler, Tornado Cotton Mouth. As for vicious animals, I recommend Tornado Hyena, Tornado Lion, or Tornado Black Bear. Any of these would be appropriate names to use.

The spirit of Preston Hollow will get us through this. As one woman told me today, facetiously of course, Preston Hollow will do anything to decorate for a great Halloween party.

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Preston Hollow Village

With so many homeowners displaced by the EF-3 North Dallas tornado, rentals in the Preston Hollow area are leasing up. The tornadoes that devastated the northern stretch of our city Sunday night — the National Weather Service has confirmed a total of 11 in North Texas — will set a new record as the costliest tornado outbreak in Texas history according to the Insurance Council of Texas. The organization has conservatively set the tab at $2 billion in losses for about 1000 homes and businesses.

At least 65,000 customers lost power and Oncor, along with out-of-town help, is still repairing the grid. According to Dallas City Councilwoman Jennifer Gates, only 900 are now without power, which is amazing considering the scope of the damage to the densely populated area the storms struck.

Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas tells me 30,000 total auto and homeowner claims have been filed for this event. The expense, too, comes with the scope of commercial claims: warehouses, shopping malls, restaurants, and an entire Home Depot. That Home Depot at Forest and US 75 alone will be several million dollars for both structure and inventory, he says.

At this point, storm victims are assessing damage, filing claims, and working to find rental homes while their own homes are repaired or demolished. All of this is going to make life very different in North Texas over the next year. 

Spike in Rental Properties

“We have about five families from the same two Preston Hollow streets — Pemberton and Orchid — leasing at the McKenzie,” says Sanders Avrea, a senior vice president with Allie Beth Allman & Associates. “All of our larger three-bedroom floor plans have been leased and our remaining two bedrooms are going quickly. We do still have three of the six penthouse plans still available.”

I’m still unable to get into the area, but I continue to get reports that Lobello Estates, home to some of the area’s most expensive and expansive homes, was hit particularly hard during Sunday’s storms.

A friend who lives on Lobello Drive sent me these photos of her natatorium.

“Large anodized aluminum beams still standing, all glass blown out,” she texted. “I’d say half our home is damaged. We were just approved this morning by insurance to get a long term rental so that will make it easy to just move directly from home to another place while we rebuild.”

Lobello Estates is bordered by Royal Lane on the north, Inwood Road on the west, Yolanda on the south, and Netherlands on the east, which then edges to the Dallas North Tollway (which was once a railroad). (more…)

(Photo: Leif Skoogfors | Wikimedia Commons)

Just in from Jennifer Staubach Gates’ office in District 13:
Dallas Fire Rescue Command at Marsh & Walnut Hill have 50 large contractor grade tarps for residential roofs due to the incoming storm. These were donated by Clear Channel. First come, first serve!
My office will be sending a comprehensive newsletter later this evening. 
If you have any questions, please reach out to my Council Liaison, Sarah Evans, at sarah.evans@dallascityhall.com or by phone at 214-670-3816. 

Homeowners with pools affected by the North Dallas tornado should take great care with cleanup efforts, experts say.

From Staff Reports

Homeowners with pools may be unaware of how dangerous the bacteria-filled standing water in their backyard could be.  According to Leslie’s Pool Supplies, a homeowner could face health and safety risks as well as expensive property damage if cleanup isn’t handled correctly. To help homeowners get their pools back to normal after the storm, here are a few tips to make the process easier.

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