Fort Worth officials discuss shelter preparations for Harvey evacuees

The first evacuees were expected to arrive at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center early Tuesday. (Facebook Live video by Ryan Osborne)
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The first evacuees were expected to arrive at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center early Tuesday. (Facebook Live video by Ryan Osborne)

Fort Worth

Fort Worth expects evacuees to begin arriving early Tuesday

August 28, 2017 02:52 PM


Evacuees from the Houston flooding were expected to begin arriving in Fort Worth early Tuesday, officials said.

The city received a request from the state on Monday evening to begin sheltering the evacuees, who will be “routed through” the Fort Worth school district’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

Some will be sheltered at Wilkerson-Greines and some will go to two other shelters.

The evacuees will be flown into Dallas Love Field and then bused to a screening center in Mesquite and then to Wilkerson-Greines, city spokeswoman Cheraya Pena said.

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The city has five shelters in total ready to take in evacuees, Mayor Betsy Price said in a news conference Monday. Officials have only disclosed Wilkerson-Greines as one of the locations. It was not yet known how many evacuees would be coming to Fort Worth, but the city’s shelters are equipped to hold more than 1,000 people, Price said.

At Wilkerson-Greines, “We will open the doors and keep custodial staff on duty,” said Clint Bond, spokesman for Fort Worth schools. The facility holds about 250 people.

The complex served victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.

The school district also welcomed evacuees into classrooms after Hurricane Katrina. Bond said the district is charged by the state to educate all students. That means the district can bus young Hurricane Harvey victims to Fort Worth schools if the need arises.

The shelters would be the latest efforts from Fort Worth officials in helping flood victims.

Fort Worth police officers spent Monday collecting snacks and water donations for a planned trip to Houston, while more than two dozen firefighters continued helping with search and rescue efforts.

Twenty-four firefighters from the department’s dive team are working with the Texas Task Force rescue unit. The Fort Worth department also sent along a boat, an inflatable boat with a motor, ropes and four water-rescue suits.

A five-person chainsaw crew from the Fire Department left for Houston on Monday, the news release said.

In San Antonio, Fort Worth’s MedStar ambulance service has been staging with an ambulance bus, spokesman Matt Zavadsky said. The MedStar crews evacuated a hospital in Victoria on Saturday night and were in San Antonio awaiting their next assignment Monday.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday activated the entire Texas National Guard, about 12,000 troops, to assist with search-and-rescue efforts in Houston and other flooded areas.

Staff writer Diane Smith contributed to this report.