A church roof collapsed under tons of water from overnight rainstorms yesterday as 200 worshipers were bowing their heads in prayer. A young girl was killed and 47 persons were injured, the city manager's office said.
Mike Cain, 18, a survivor, pulled debris from his pockets as he described the collapse at the Church of Christ in the Dallas suburb.
"We had just finished the opening song to our 10:30 service and were in the middle of our prayer when we heard the explosion. We heard just an explosion, wood cracking and the water just kept coming. It was like being under a waterfall.
"A beam fell on a girl just two seats away from me. There was a lot of screaming. I know the little girl is dead because I saw her."
Rescue workers dug through a pile of smashed pews and twisted beams but found no other bodies or survivors in the two-year-old building, police said.
"It was such a new church - how could it happen?" Cain asked. "How could it break so easily? It was a flat roof which had a special drainage system, but I guess it just didn't work."
He said the minister, Verner Ulrich, was sittiing with his family waiting to give his sermon when the roof collapsed. The minister escaped unscathed, Cain said.
Gene Griffin, another member of the congregation, said, "The roof just wasn't strong enough to support all that weight from the water. It obviously just wasn't draining."