Kilgore Hit Hard By Storms - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Kilgore Hit Hard By Storms

The hardest hit areas Saturday night and Sunday morning by heavy storms were in Gregg County.  Strong winds toppled power lines and large hail damaged several homes and businesses there.  The town of Kilgore experienced the most damage, as thousands of  homes lost power.  

In just a few minutes Saturday night, the storms brought trees down on power lines, ripped awnings out of concrete and flooded dozens of roads.  Several East Texans were caught off guard by the fast moving water.

"We knew the storm was coming, but we didn't know it was this bad," said Kilgore homeowner Eric Reece.  The Sabine River spilled out, swamping River Road near White Oak.  Customers at a gas station in Kilgore scrambled to get away when a huge awning toppled in Kilgore.

"Nobody got hurt, but some people were pumping gas at that time, and they stopped and ran inside the store and took shelter," said convenience store owner Jessie Singh.  Power was knocked out to hundreds of homes and at city offices, but what happened in one Kilgore neighborhood is hard to imagine.  In just a few seconds tons of hail fell creating a dangerous situation and costing Eric Reece just about everything he owned.

"You walk in, and you're in two feet of water, and you're just thinking oh my gosh, everything we own is gone," said Reece.  "I can't explain how mad, sad and confused I was."  Hail and rain rushed into Reece's home, soaking his furniture and practically all his belongings.

"You know, my wife's birthday is today," said Reece.  "This is I guess a heck of a birthday present, hey honey we've lost everything."  For Reece, uninsured and with a wife and two children, there is little left for him to do except start over.

"I'm not going to quit on my kids and my family, that's the whole reason I get up every day and do what I need to do to take care of them," said Reece.  They just hope East Texas is spared from the next round of storms.  

SWEPCO officials say there are still around 1,000 homes, Sunday night in the Kilgore area without power.  Crews will be working throughout the night to restore power.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.


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