Grim task begins in Bolivar

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Francisco Paco Vargas, owner of Rudy & Paco restaurant, power washes pans during cleanup from Hurricane Ike, in Galveston, Texas, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. &#40;AP Photo&#47;Matt Rourke&#41;</span></div>
September 17, 2008 9:15:12 PM PDT
The search for victims began in Bolivar Wednesday, and authorities think victims will be found miles north in Chambers County, as well. HURRICANE IKE: Watch live | Breaking news on Ike | Roadway incidents | Interactive tracking | Viewer photos of Ike | Doppler radar | During the storm | After the storm | Hurricane guide

A huge cattle drive crosses the highway from High Island. Thousands of cows are still roaming free. They could die from thirst. You can't drive onto Bolivar anymore. Even local lawmen for a time were being kept out.

"We're not going there to loot," said Bolivar Deputy Constable William Corneaux. "We're not there to check property. We're going there to look for answers."

We had just had coffee together in Gilchrist a few weeks ago.

"The place we met?" we asked Corneaux.

"It's flat," he said.

"The volunteer fire department?"

"It's flat."

The only way to get to Bolivar is by boat and we made the trip again Wednesday with fishing guide Bart Allbright and his son, Adam.

A Coast Guard boat patrols the Intercoastal Waterway in front of Rollover Pass, or what's left of it. You can count the homes that survived on your hand.

"I had no idea that a storm could just wipe out an entire community," said Adam.

"Pretty amazing to see all those homes gone," added his father.

There's always something hard about finding someone's memories scattered like this.

The government clearly doesn't want us to see what's happening there. The rumors among Bolivar residents are rampant. How many are dead? Will Bolivar be condemned? Will they ever let folks come back? They are rumors born of communities being kept in the dark.

"We are being shut off from federal and state governments," said Corneaux. "They're not giving us answers."

Some of what's left of Bolivar has now blown north into Chambers County.

"We're out, starting today, we're out looking for victims and I know we will find some," said Chambers County Judge Jimmy Silva.

And when you see what's left of Rollover Pass, you only hope no one stayed to see this happen.

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