By Jan White
CROCKETT – Last Tuesday Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference at the Civic Center in Crockett. Gov. Abbott had already declared 16 Texas counties as disaster areas but specifically visited Crockett to reassure residents of his commitment to providing the necessary resources to assist their recovery efforts.
Abbott praised city officials and emergency responders for helping their fellow Texans throughout the night and acknowledged the challenges the community would face during the restoration period.
Abbott stated that the Texas division for emergency management is making a dollar assessment for the damages incurred to establish what funds are available to help. He also encouraged homeowners to visit www.damage.tdem.texas.gov to report their damages and provide information for the assessment. Abbott urged citizens to reach out to Senator Robert Nichols or State Representative Trent Ashby.
City and county officials also thanked first responders for their help. County Judge Jim Lovell thanked the Texas Department of Public Safety for providing a helicopter so that he and Heath Murff, EMC/Fire Marshal, could access the damage. Sheriff Randy Hargrove thanked his officers and specifically thanked the farmers, ranchers, and citizens of the county who worked to clear trees and debris off the road.
Crockett Mayor Ianthia Fisher praised the community for how they’ve come together to give. “Thanks to God that no lives had been lost. And just know that someone is here to help you,” she stated, encouraging the residents to continue assisting one another. “Show others what you are capable of.”
Chief Nihm Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) stated, “Life safety is our number one priority.” Chief Kidd advised those affected by the tornado to “Start working on property conservation – pick up and clean up and debris removal.” He encouraged people with insurance to call their insurance companies and start the insurance process. “If we meet our thresholds for disaster assistance, it’s on the uninsured loss for homes and businesses.” TDEM has a dedicated worker focused on Houston County.
According to a report delivered during Abbott’s press conference, 10 injuries had been reported, with 30 structures having sustained damage in the Houston County area; 25 of those damaged were homes. Additionally, about 72 people took refuge in the public shelter Monday night. And while it was noted that friends, neighbors, and family are taking in the displaced, there is no concrete information on how long it will take before some can return to their homes, if at all.