Mental heroism saved lives during a tornado in Houston

DEER PARK, TX (Nexstar) — The fact that no one died when an unprecedented EF3 tornado tore through 18 miles of the Houston Metroplex is no miracle. how to weather the storm.

Little remains of the nursing home on the San Jacinto estate in Deer Park, but all of its dozens of elderly residents were not affected. Volunteers working at the bedside made a life-saving decision by moving many elderly people through the storm and across the street to safety minutes before 140-mph winds tore off the roof and brought down brick walls.

“Places like nursing homes have been destroyed. And it’s just heartbreaking,” said Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. “However, it is very nice to meet people who you consider to be employees of such an institution, but they are volunteers.”

Across town, in the Deer Park community emergency room, doctors treating similar beds evacuated in the blink of an eye.

“We were just treating a few patients and we heard a loud noise and felt a change in pressure,” said Dr. Kenneth Direkli. “We herded everyone into the lead-lined CT room and heard all the noise, the ceiling tiles were crumbling, the glass was breaking, water was pouring out. “.

Direkli and his team continued to treat cuts and scrapes from the tornado that appeared a few hours later and continued to see patients in need, working only on the generator the next day.

“You just have to be ready for anything,” he said.

Southwest of Deer Park, other volunteers cared not for patients but for pets.

The cats and dogs from the Pasadena Animal Shelter are now in their new homes, each shaken but safe after their roof was blown off by a tornado.

“It was very traumatic, especially for the animals,” said one of their caregivers, named Joanna. “[In one] part of the warehouse is about 80 dogs, where half of the roof is completely gone. So it’s very traumatic. We thought we had wounded, so the veterinarians rushed in and took care of them, and there were no injuries to either humans or animals.”

Along one of the shelter’s corridors, darkened by a power outage, were dozens of cages that people had donated in the last 24 hours so the animals could sleep safely in a nearby facility.

“Woof,” said a chocolate lab assistant named Huggles.

“Volunteers, rescue organizations lined up here [and] All SPCAs were ready within a couple of hours,” Joanna said. “All organizations arrived, trucks with animals left. Currently we have only 23 dogs left, no cats. They all left this morning. So we were blessed.”

Blessed, of course, but also battle-tested. Southeast Texas is no stranger to this kind of solidarity after the storm. Usually devastation comes with a warning from the Persian Gulf. But the neighborhood instincts remain.

“Unfortunately, we are probably the most experienced county office in emergency response,” Commissioner Garcia said. “That’s what we’re doing. We don’t abandon residents. We do everything necessary. And if I have to break the chainsaw, I will do it.”

Commissioner Garcia is directing any Texan who can lend a helping hand to donate to his Precinct2gether Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps residents in need.

“We will take care of our community. This is the spirit of the Second Precinct. It’s the spirit of Harris County.”

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