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Fire Evacuees Waiting For Answers

Displaced home owners in Grimes County are hoping for a little rain tonight in order to help firefighters with a wildfire that’s burned more than 5,000 acres an hour north of Houston. Most evacuees have been out of their homes since Sunday and have no idea if they have a house to return to. Bill Stamps has the latest.



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School is out, but the halls of Navasota High School have been quite busy the past few days. The Red Cross has set up a shelter there and people like Kathleen Palermo have been going in and out for different reasons.

“I’m not staying at the shelter. I’m staying with my daughter and she’s across 105 from Stoneham and the rest of the place from 105 to Stoneham is all block off.”

Palermo stopped by the shelter to register with the Red Cross so that she’d be eligible for aid if she no longer has a house. When she left the flames were heading right for it.

“I could see it coming over the trees. I barely got my dogs and me out. And what I have on.”

Johnnie Mcray tells a similar story. She says the police came by knocking on her door Sunday afternoon.

“And I said what’s going on? He said are you the only one in the house? I said yes. He said well you’ve gotta get out of here. I said what what’s going on. He said you’ve got five minutes. The fire is headed your way.”

Mcray isn’t staying at the shelter either. She’s staying with her daughter in Spring.

More than 1800 homes had to be evacuated but only seven people spent Monday night at the shelter. The Red Cross’ Harriet Halkyard says despite the low numbers they’ll be open for whoever needs them.

“They can stay here overnight and they can also have three meals a day here and they can get other support from us until we know if they can go home or if they’re home is destroyed until we know what the situation is.”

Most of the evacuees just want to know if they still have a home…and if so when can they go back.  As I spoke with Kathleen Palermo, we started to feel little drops from the sky.

“Thank you Jesus for the rain, just let it rain and put that fire out.”

The rain stopped moments later.


Red Cross Information:

  • Shelter – Navasota High School, 9238 Highway 90 South, Navasota, TX 77868-4776.
  • Donations First Baptist Church, 301 Church St., Navasota, TX 77868 between 8 a.m. & 5 p.m. daily.
  • Support the Red Cross’ ongoing assistance to fire victims, donate to the Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps campaign at