Austin firefighters help with search and rescue in Orange

Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott got his first look at damage in Southeast Texas caused by historic flooding.
               
Hundreds of people in Orange were forced to leave their homes behind as the Sabine River overflowed its banks.

So far no deaths have been reported there, but, there will be extensive cleanup once the water recedes.

The flooding on the Louisiana/ Texas border has also shut down Interstate 10, rerouting the more than 48,000 vehicles that take it each day, and Governor Abbott said it could be a week before that stretch of the interstate reopens.

Homes along the Sabine River are surrounded by high floodwater after 20 inches of rain fell on the area in just four days.

“To see the way that families have been displaced, homes have been flooded, property has been destroyed, but profoundly I’ve seen the way that leaders across this area have come together to help the people respond to this challenge,” Said Governor Greg Abbott. 

Some of the authorities helping with evacuations are Austin firefighters with Texas Task Force One.

“We’ve had 10 people out helping out and they expect to be out there until at least Friday,” said Division Chief of the Austin Fire Department Palmer Buck. 

Thousands of people have left their homes for area shelters while they wait for the water to recede.

“Until the water stops rising, you need to continue to heed the warnings of local officials about the possible dangers you could be in,” Abbott said.  
               
“The boats teams especially been busy doing mostly evacuations. They evacuated different people that were cut off by water,” Buck said. 

Authorities went door to door Tuesday asking people in the danger zone to leave their property.

“As the waters go away, the challenges won’t immediately go away for the people that have been displaced. They will continue to need your help,” said Abbott. 
               
It has been a busy year for Texas water rescue teams after years of drought.

“These same teams haven't been activated, they've been training, but they haven't been activated, for three years during the drought,” Buck said. 

More than 100 National Guard and State Guard members are working to save lives and protect communities in Orange and Governor Abbott said they will be there long after the threat is gone. 

“I want the people of the Southeast Texas area to know that the State of Texas has and will continue to be able to respond to any and all challenges they have,” Abbott said. 

The governor encourages those who want to help flooding victims to donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army or other local disaster organizations.

After the water recedes, transportation crews will evaluate I-10 conditions to make sure it is safe for travelers.
 

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