AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The American Red Cross of Greater North Texas opened up a shelter on Thursday for flooding evacuees at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, especially those who evacuated from the Paramount area.
As of 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, the Amarillo Fire Department said it had evacuated 245 people and 57 pets from flooding in the Lawrence Lake area as well as the area extended southward, after more rainfall overnight.
“Right now, we’re accepting clients and citizens that have been affected by the flooding over on Paramount last night,” said Betsy Cornette, the disaster program manager serving the Panhandle Plains at the American Red Cross. “So, anybody that has had a problem with that should come up here and register with us so we can get them the assistance that they’re looking for.”
Jeff Justus, the community liaison for the Amarillo Fire Department, said as of Thursday afternoon, evacuation operations were still underway.
“We’ve got the National Guard helping out. We’ve got TxDOT, we’ve got our own trucks, the police department,” Justus said. “Canyon sent resources here. We’ve even got a task force team that came up from Fort Worth, Denton area.”
Cornette said there is transportation available to the Civic Center for shelter from the Market Street location on Georgia St. The shelter was previously located at Austin Middle School on Thursday morning and eventually shifted to the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Thursday afternoon.
“The fire department and the police department are still helping people through the water and so they can go over there and get a ride up to here,” she continued. “There’s a city that has provided the bus so we bus them up here.”
Justus said the Market Street is where AFD and other emergency responders are staging for this disaster.
“All of our resources will be here, all into the evening. I mean, this could be a multiple-day operation, depending on how things go,” Justus said. “So we’ve just got so many resources available that we need them all in one location, so we can kind of keep track of things.”
Justus shared some advice for those who have been evacuated, saying, “I would recommend, number one, find a place to stay and if you are going to try to get back into your home, you might consider getting a generator, some potable water, things like that, because you just never know how long you’re going to be without power.”
Allen Contreras, who was evacuated from his home Thursday morning, said he is thankful for the response and help from the community.
“For me, it’s kind of self-rewarding, because being former military, I used to be on that side of evacuating people and making sure that their safety, and now I’m on the other side of it, it’s kind of more of a self-gratification of, ‘Thank you,'” Contreras said.
However, Contreras and his family are still without the comforts of their home.
“It’s just socks, underwear, clothes. I mean, it’s just simple things that I don’t have. I don’t have it right now,” Contreras continued. “I have my cats, my daughter, my wife, my son, and the little bit that we were able to get out. Other than that, I mean, I don’t have a home right now.”
Cornette said everyone displaced by this flooding is welcome at the Civic Center shelter, along with their pets. She said they are welcome to stay overnight.
“We would really like anybody that’s been impacted with this flood to come up here and help and get assistance if they need it,” Cornette said. “But they should also be aware that there’s a lot of agencies down at Randall county fire station number one that can also provide a lot of assistance to those that have had flooding before this that happened last night.”