Dam failure forces families out of their homes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Dam failure forces families out of their homes


Some East Texas families are back in their homes, after a dam failed during Tuesday's rain.

The dam off CR 2801 in Van Zandt County gave way, forcing authorities to order evacuations. 

"I panicked at first because I have three dogs and my child was in school. They were talking about putting us in boarding rooms in hotels and stuff. I didn't know how I was going to get a hold of my daughter; I don't have a cell phone," said evacuee Samantha Howell. 

When the dam gave way, Howell and four other families had little time to grab their belongings and get out.

"I grabbed my medication and Kathy and them let me put my dog over in their yard, and we just waited to see what was going to happen," said evacuee Edwin Walker. 

The families spent the day at one home...hoping for the best.

"It was frightening and it went on for about five hours," said property owner Kathy Thomas. 

"The water just got so high it was washing everything away and then the bridge just started collapsing," Howell explained. 

We're told by Van Zandt County that the lake is actually owned by three separate property owners who will all be financially responsible for any damages the flood has caused.

We spoke to one of those owners who did not want to appear on camera, but told us he dug out one side of the dam, which helped keep it from breaking.  
"It will take an exorbitant amount to rebuild the culvert and repair the road. Thank goodness it won't be a financial burden directly to us," Thomas said. 

More than anything, she is happy everyone is safe. 


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