Storms unleash wind, fire damage on East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Storms unleash wind, fire damage on East Texas

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - High winds and fires likely sparked by lightning kept emergency responders busy in Deep East Texas Wednesday evening.

In Angelina County, dispatchers say most damage was reported on U.S. Highway 69 South. Several reports of trees on top of cars and houses were reported off of FM 841.

Debra Wade discovered a the tree had crushed her two cars and blocked the front door of her home west of Lufkin. For the Angelina County woman, the sudden storm couldn't come at a worse time.

"We lost him (her husband) two weeks ago to liver cancer. And, so, you know, it just seems like we keep taking one punch right after another," said Wade.

Without transportation, she's stranded.

"I'm not going to be able to go anywhere, until we get, you know, something done. I mean, I have no transportation, other than my daughter's car, you know, when she's not working," said Wade.

Wade said she's planning to call someone to cut down all of her remaining trees so this never happens again.

[View a slideshow of storm damage]

Right around 3:30 this afternoon a line of thunderstorms with heavy rains passed through Nac Co. Within minutes as many as six fires, primarily in the Garrison and Central Heights area were reported. Most all the fires were weather related. In addition there were numerous reports of downed trees and downed power lines.

There was also a fire in the Nacolina Subdivision in Etoile. At one point, firefighters feared it was getting out of hand and there would be the need to evacuate residents. Fortunately, that was never necessary. 

Around 3:30 p.m. thunderstorms with heavy rains passed through Nacogdoches County. Within minutes, as many as six fires in the Garrison and Central Heights area were reported. Most were weather related. Residents reported numerous downed trees and downed power lines.

In the city limits of Nacogdoches there were numerous reports of downed limbs across roadways. Moore Street at Martin Luther King was blocked by firefighters when a large tree fell across the roadway into power lines.

Outside is the place to be for Tommy McClendon. He said it's cooler outside than in his house.

"I don't have any power. It's kind of got everything at a stand still at this moment," said McClendon.

Others are watching problems pile up.

"One of the oil companies had shut their office down in Chireno because of the high winds and the dust," said Nacogdoches County resident, Lavaughn Parrish. "There's several trees down on 21, down on the loop in Nacogdoches, several automobile accidents. And, I would just say, hey folks, take it easy. It's mean out here."

In downtown Nacogdoches at Fortney's in the 300 block of Main Street winds broke the store's display window, sending shattered grass everywhere. The owner was out of town, but Main Street Director Sarah O'Brien called Renfro Glass to plywood the window.

It's a similar situation in Shelby, San Augustine, and Sabine counties. Fires sparked by lightning were reported in Etoile and Zavalla this afternoon. Along Highway 63 in Angelina County, roads swallowed by fire were shut down. Late Wednesday, Angelina County Sheriff's officials said Highway 63 re-opened and the fire is contained. Nacogdoches County Sheriff's officials said the fire in the Etoile area is contained as well. 

Law enforcement and power crews are being stretched thin to cover the sheer number of incidents.    

The most serious accident occurred on Highway 21 East near the Thrall Grocery Store. A motorcyclist was forced to land his bike when a limb fell on him. Emergency crews at the scene said he wasn't critically injured. An ambulance transported the man to a Nacogdoches Hospital. Traffic in both directions was stalled for over a mile.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly