KLTV 7 News speaks with evacuees now in Tyler

A shelter is in place at First Baptist Church in Tyler.
A shelter is in place at First Baptist Church in Tyler.
Pets wait for transportation at Faulkner Park.
Pets wait for transportation at Faulkner Park.

Unlike three years ago, the plans were in place and east Texas is ready.

And evacuees we spoke with today say that so far, no complaints.

Still, as KLTV 7's Molly Reuter explains, it's a very stressful time for these Beaumont evacuees who are now going through it a second time.

"My family said it was time to go, so we left."

Josh Brantley and his ten family members left Beaumont around 5 this morning.

It's an experience he and many of the evacuees say they are all too familiar with.

"The last time we left in cars and everybody was all separated, so this time we are just trying to make the best out of nothing."

"I'm a diabetic one, and I'm just traveling with my family with the hope of God to get somewhere safe."

The city of Tyler has asked all evacuees who are seeking shelter to check in at the reception center at Faulkner Park.

The Tyler Fire Department is also registering pets and then moving them to an animal shelter at Harvey Hall.

The evacuees themselves are being taken to several shelters around town.

Like the one at First Baptist Church.

"Oh, they have been wonderful and the food. We got here about 3 o'clock in the morning and we have been eating ever since."

Food, shelter and a place to sleep... And this time around, east Texas was ready.

"We want these people to feel like they are part of a family, and it's not just an institutional thing," said Mike Masser, the pastor of the First Baptist Church.

"We are just more prepared then we were three years ago."

The city of Tyler says it can take about 6,000 evacuees.

If Tyler reaches capacity, the city says it will direct the evacuees to additional shelters around east Texas.

Three shelters are also in place in Tyler to care for hundreds of evacuees with special needs.

The UT Patriot Center, Colonial Hills Baptist Church and the Glass Recreation Center are taking in special needs patients from Beaumont.

Officials tell us around 100 Beaumont hospital patients have been evacuated to various hospitals around east Texas.

"It's going very well. We are very blessed to have the support of the community and it's people, everyone is rallying around, and I failed to mention even TJC is setting up, I believe they have a contract with three nursing homes. We couldn't do this without the support," said Jonathan MacClements with Smith County Health Authority.

East Texas Medical Center has also sent ten ambulances to help on the Gulf Coast.

They will be there for at least five days.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com