SIMONTON, TX (KTRK) --A week since they were ordered out by mandatory evacuation, residents in the Ft. Bend County city of Simonton are finally being allowed to return to their homes.
Homeowners are assessing the damage and attempting to begin cleanup. It's a scene which is repeating itself across the county.
"Throw everything that we have in the house because it was ruined," said Aurora Hicks. She lives in a neighborhood of mostly mobile homes off Riversedge Drive in Richmond. There, you can see so much of what used to be inside, now out.
Felix Lozano has lived there for 40 years. "It hurts. I've been working all my life," he said.
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He was so emotional, he couldn't finish the thought.
In the nearby River's Edge subdivision, sidewalks are already lined with the washed up remnants to people's lives. "It's surreal. It's like an out of body experience," said homeowner Lupe Garza.
Neighbors are helping neighbors with cleanup and also with food and water.
"There's mold growing right here," said Valley Lodge homeowner Patricia Isham. She was just allowed back into her neighborhood today. She was among many forced to evacuate as flood waters rose last week. She says she had only 30 minutes between when the voluntary evacuation order turned mandatory. She moved some belongings higher, but there was no time to move everything.
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Isham has lived here since 2000 and plans to rebuild -- but looking at this mess, she admits, is difficult. "You been here a long time so, yeah, Its hard," she said.
Down the street, Meghan Kelly is just getting started on her grandparent's home. Years of mementos, a lifetime of memories inside their home, also now covered in mold. "Everything had water on it," Kelly said.
She, like many, are wondering how to rebuild -- If they can. They had insurance on the structure, but not the contents. She wonders if it would be best for them just to move. "How special is it? It'd be nice to just move my grandparents somewhere else...and not have to go through this again," Kelly said.
Of particular concern in Valley Lodge: water wells. Each homeowner is responsible for their own. The city of Simonton is telling folks it is critical to shock wells and have them tested. For more on that, plus a list of other resources, log onto the City of Simonton website: simontontexas.gov.
For more on disaster assistance, you can also visit fbcoem.org for information on registering your losses and other FAQs.