VIEW, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Governor Abbott addressed a roomful of local and state leaders inside the Precinct #1 storage barn Tuesday. At the address, Gov. Abbott commended first responders for their dedication during the Mesquite Heat fire and condemned the shooting at a Uvalde elementary school, taking place less than an hour before his appearance.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” said the Governor during the question portion of his appearance.
After providing preliminary details of the shooting, the Governor went on to share sentiments of strength to affected families.
“When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to pick up their child up when that school day ends,” Gov. Abbott said. “There are families who are in mourning right now in the State of Texas, and the State of Texas- we’re in mourning with them. For the reality, those parents won’t be able to pick up their children.”
Prior to his remarks on the shooting, the governor provided several updates on the fire. He said all those previously evacuated, estimated at 200, have been allowed to return home. He also said while emergency shelters are now closed, livestock facilities would remain available at the Taylor County Expo Center through Monday, May 30.
The governor, sat alongside Assistant Chief Brandi Ashby of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls and Sheriff Ricky Bishop, thanked all responders for continuing their week long’s firefight.
“Before the rain came today, the fire was 58% contained,” said Gov. Abbott. “Because of their hard and tireless work the last few days, they got us to the point we are at today.”
Sheriff Bishop, who is also the View Volunteer Fire Department Chief, said with more rain expected throughout the night Tuesday going into Wednesday, those still on the ground battling the fire could be off the job as soon as this weekend.
“We’re hoping for a day or two longer,” Sheriff Bishop said. “We may have to go into the weekend, depending on what the weather conditions are going to do for us at the end of the week.”
When asked if monetary relief for volunteer fired departments running through equipment, battling the Mesquite Fire, would be available from the state, Asst. Chief Ashby said state funding was already being arranged for those fire departments.
“On may 18th we did receive a fire management assistance grant, which is a grant that allows us to assist the local fire departments in their fire suppression efforts to reimburse them for the cost that they expended during that effort,” said Asst. Chief Ashby.
The Governor asked all affected by the fire to report all damages to the TDEM site, doing so could help the state secure federal funds which could unlock more funds to relieve fire victims.