Residents in southeast Travis County are cleaning up homes destroyed in last week’s flooding.
Monday, in what would have been Andy Creed’s living room, volunteers were sweeping, unscrewing and pulling out the walls and insulation of his girlfriend’s mother’s house. Creed said that at around 10 p.m. Thursday, during heavy rains, the water started rising.
"First it was the backyard, then the front yard, then it started getting in the garage. And then it came to the front steps, and that’s when we knew we had a problem. Once it got to the front steps, it was just a matter of 20 minutes or whatever before it was two feet, two feet up. And then it was three feet up. And at that time it was sink or swim. Either we were staying inside or we had to go.”
Creed and his girlfriend decided to go. They treaded through water that came up to Creed’s stomach, before Creed looked down the block.
“The next door neighbor hadn’t gotten up yet, so we were trying to get him up and get him out. I was trying to walk a whole 50 feet to his trailer. That took me a good five minutes just to do that. And that’s when I got hit by the 4x4.”
Creed points to bruises on his legs. He was also hit by a refrigerator. Thursday night’s flooding turned his neighborhood, Thoroughbred Farms, into a river.
“In the Thoroughbred Farms area, many of these families were impacted back in the October flooding. For them, they’ve lost everything. For them, it’s starting all over again,” said Stephen Brewer, the associate director of the Austin Disaster Relief Network.
A group of volunteers huddled beneath a church awning Monday morning as the rain tapered off and the sun came out. Volunteers then headed to the Thoroughbred Farms neighborhood south of the airport, armed with shovels, wheelbarrows and masks. They focused on roughly 30 homes, stripping them to their bare bones before mold could begin growing in the walls.
Creed scanned the lawn of his girlfriend’s mother’s house, the house he was set to move into in just one week. They had just finished remodeling from the floods in October.
“This was all the sheetrock we just put in, all the new chairs, patio furniture they had, TV, couches, two brand new couches. Water does not discriminate. And it’s the mud that comes with it, the silt that comes with it. That is one of the most devastating things. And it gets into everything.”
Creed said they don’t have the money to move, so they’ll rebuild a second time. Travis County officials say there are still people missing – but they’re not quite sure how many. The Austin Disaster Relief Network believes that number is two.
The group is among those accepting donations to help people affected by the flooding. For those needing temporary shelter, the Red Cross has opened one at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church at 2105 Parker Lane. Those in need of help can call the Red Cross at 1-800-928-4271.