Interviews

Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames: We are holding up

Beaumont, Texas continues to deal with widespread flooding from Harvey

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 1, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: All right, Beaumont, Texas, boy, they have had a disproportionate stake in all of these problems. You have flooding, now even the water problem. Once that water ebbs, they have got mold they worry about.

One the phone, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames.

Mayor, first off, what is the latest there? How are you holding up, your residents?

BECKY AMES, MAYOR OF BEAUMONT, TEXAS: We are holding up, Neil.

Thank you for asking. We are -- we have an amazing team at our emergency operations center. We all went through Hurricane Ike together. So, they're very, very, very good at what they do. I'm very lucky to have them.

However, of course, we do have some issues that are going on. And we recently had some additional flooding because the Neches River is beginning to crest. And it's continuing. That's probably what I'm seeing on your screen right now.

CAVUTO: Yes.

AMES: And so the water is coming up.

If you can see, our firefighters are out there and they're working hard. We have had this type of rescue operation going on since basically last Sunday. So this has been a long, long time for us.

But everyone is holding up great. Our citizens are amazing. Our industry partners are amazing. As far as our water is concerned -- and I don't mean that standing water. I mean our drinkable and our water system.

We have a plant that has been there for actually 100 years. Now, the plant is not 100 years old, but the site has been there. And it has never even come close to flooding. And we did have a failure or a breach in that system on Thursday night about 11:00.

I'm sorry. Wait. Wednesday night at about 11:00. And we have come up -- one of our great engineers has come up with a work-around. We're hoping that it's going to work. It is starting to. It won't be drinkable water, but we are giving out drinkable water at two locations already in the city of Beaumont.

And we're working on three more locations. Citizens can just drive up. We give them a jug of water, a case of water, some MREs, et cetera, et cetera, all kinds of things. And they just drive up and we put it in their car. We're serving about 12 people a minute.

CAVUTO: Wow.

Is there any evacuation order in effect, Mayor? Or are...

(CROSSTALK)

AMES: No. It takes us 39 hours to evacuate.

CAVUTO: I see.

AMES: We did not even -- this was not even a threat to us until maybe less than 20 hours out.

So -- and if we had evacuated, with the situation that happened in Houston and then toward Louisiana, we would have had a hard time to try to get that done.

But with that being said, there is a mandatory evacuation in one of our smaller cities near us that is not under my jurisdiction. That's Double Oaks. And then we did do a voluntary evacuation along our river. And we went door-to-door yesterday to those residents, encouraging them to leave. That's some of the photographs that I saw when you first opened this cast, this newscast.

So, we -- most of those people did get out. If they chose not to, obviously, even on a mandatory, we cannot make them. But we're aware that they're there, and we will go in and rescue them, as you saw earlier.

CAVUTO: Incredible.

Mayor, hang in there and your residents and your fellow Texans. It's amazing, your wherewithal and ability to go through all of this day by day and just keep up a good night. Amazing.

Mayor, thank you very, very much.

END

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