Rescue boats become ferries after Harvey

Ten days after the storm started, five feet of water remains in some neighborhoods and there is still only one road open into the city, Interstate 10 from Orange, which lies further east on the Louisiana border.

VIDOR, Texas – Ten days after the storm started, five feet of water remains in some neighborhoods and there is still only one road open into the city, Interstate 10 from Orange, which lies further east on the Louisiana border.

“We didn’t expect it. We watched Houston, you know. But we had no idea what it was going to do,” said Donald Lightfoot, Jr., resident.

Homeowners in the Cloverleaf subdivision, which is in south Vidor, have nicknamed it the Cloverleaf island. Flooding from the Neches River have blocked roads into here, as well.

On Sunday, the Texas National Guard delivered sixty cases of food to residents trapped here.

“We’re blocked in. We’ve been blocked in since [last] Sunday,” said Keith Buesing, Vidor Councilman from Ward 4. “Today’s really the first day since we’ve seen these kind of supplies getting brought in.”

About the only way in and out of Cloverleaf is through volunteers like Stuart Smith.

“I asked if I could hitch a ride and they were more than willing,” said John Ricks, homeowner.

Smith bought a boat and took off from his home in Atlanta, Georgia to floodwaters in Texas.

“I paid $2,400 for it the night before we came down here,” he explained. “Had to buy a set of tires on the way here. Had to buy a battery the first day here.”

Along the way, he met others like him.

“I didn’t know him before I got here. We met at a gas station on the way here,” said Smith pointing to another member of his boat crew.

When rescues ended on Thursday, Smith and others have turned their used boat into a ferry service to shuttle people in with water, groceries and gasoline for generators.

Chief Rod Carroll, Vidor Police, said water got inside more than half of all the homes in the city. Rescuers pulled more than 1,300 people to dry land after the storm, Carroll added.

Traffic signals remain dark in most of the city. No restaurants are open and the parking lot of the Market Basket grocery store has served as a staging area for rescuers and volunteers.

The Neches River is receding but residents aren’t sure how long that will take.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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