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After Harvey, one year later: Refugio Fire Department still trying to bounce back

REFUGIO, Texas – Driving around the town of Refugio one year after Hurricane Harvey plowed through the area, it's clear the community is still in the middle of making repairs.

Blue tarps on roofs, water damage and construction-sized dumpster bins are a visual reminder.

A radio tower installed on the roof of the town's fire station was bent in half by the strong hurricane winds Aug. 25, 2017.

Refugio is only 20 miles away from where the peak wind gusts of 145 mph were measured. 

Refugio Fire Chief Don Pullin said they've teamed up with another specialist down the road to help with their radio transmissions.

The town's Fire Department is still in operation, but not without the help of others in Refugio County.

"We have the support from surrounding fire departments in the county and outside the county to help us," Pullin said.

Pullin also showed the damage inside the fire station. A patched-up roof now replaces the one that Harvey damaged, but Pullin says there are still problems of water leaking through the repairs when it rains. There are some signs of rust on top of some of the station's trucks. 

"Our trucks are being damaged 'cause water still coming in," Pullin said. 

The station's meeting room, storage units and an office that was shared by the fire chief and assistant fire chief have water damage to the ceiling and walls. Pullin said the mold and mildew inside the kitchen area was so bad, KSAT crews would not be taken into the area for safety reasons.

"This is kind of hard, bringing in new people (firefighters)," Pullin said.

Many people in the town of Refugio said they are still left waiting on funding because of negations with insurance companies.

Others had to be persistent when filing for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town's Fire Department is in a similar situation.

Pullin says the department is still hoping to get the funding needed to get its station back up and running.


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