Disaster Response

Houston residents conduct rescues by boat -- but some don't want to leave their homes

Riding on a rescue boat through a neighborhood in Houston flooded after a nearby reservoir released water from Hurricane Harvey, Fox Business Network’s Jeff Flock got a first-hand perspective Monday of the challenges that came with trying to save lives.

As the boat, provided by a local resident, rode through a western Houston neighborhood, a Harris County constable explained that rescue crews have passed through the area several times, shouting for anyone who might be in need of help.

“Just making sure that if anybody wants to get out, we’re gonna get them out,” the constable said.

Some residents in the neighborhood — which has been engulfed by water that was released from the nearby Barker Reservoir, in addition to rain pouring down from the storm — decided to stay put and ride out the storm as it passed.

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Residents in one newly renovated home gave a “thumbs up” when rescuers had previously passed, which meant they wanted to stay in their home.

“Everybody’s alike,” Flock said of flooded homes — some in wealthy areas, some in poor areas. “Everybody’s got the same problem.”

Some of the people who decided to stay put during the storm, found a small patch of grass where they walked their dog while holding an umbrella.

“This is what Houston has been doing,” Flock said, describing the rescue efforts. Flock said many residents have donated their time and gear to help, because it’s been difficult for emergency crews to reach some of the flood-stricken areas in time.

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“Most hurricanes – we’d be done with it by now. We’d be cleaning up and we’d be thinking about heading home, and saying good luck on the rebuild, but right now, I mean we’re still right in the throes of this,” Flock said.

Water from the reservoir, which was built to prevent flooding in downtown Houston, was part of a controlled release, which triggered additional flooding in nearby neighborhoods.

The releases began before 2 a.m. Monday because water levels were increasing dramatically at a rate of more than six inches per hour, according to an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman.

Houston fire officials told Fox News that over 5,000 rescue runs were made on Sunday alone.