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NEWS UPDATE: Flood hits Fort Worth area


HALTOM CITY, Texas (BP)–Disaster relief volunteers with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention were preparing Tuesday to begin clean-up efforts in a flood-ravaged area of suburban Fort Worth where at least one child died when she was carried away by currents during a rescue attempt.

Throughout North Texas early Monday, flash flooding ravaged parts of Tarrant, Denton, Cooke and Grayson counties, with damage most severe in Grayson County, from Interstate 35 near Gainesville, Texas east to Sherman, Texas, about 90 miles north of Dallas. Water reached nearly eight feet in portions of Grayson County, according to news reports.

Damage to mobile homes in a six-square-block area of Haltom City, Texas, northeast of Fort Worth, sent dozens of families to shelters.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that five people are confirmed dead, including 4-year-old Alexandria Collins of Haltom City, whom officials said was whisked away from her mother’s grasp as the two were trying to flee in a neighbor’s boat.

Also among the dead is 74-year-old Reginald Gattis, a member of First Baptist Church of Sherman. The pastor of the church, Michael Lawson, said Gattis is survived by his wife and had been a member there for almost eight years.

“In fact, he joined on the very same day we came there in view of a call—Nov. 14, 1999,” Lawson recalled.

Gattis was returning to Sherman in his pickup truck when the vehicle was overcome by water and he was unable to free himself, Gattis said.

Also, the home of another church member who was away in Colorado was overcome by high water, with the family’s car washed up against the back of the garage.

“They pretty much lost everything,” Lawson said.

The other three confirmed dead include a woman and her granddaughter in Gainesville, and a Denison, Texas woman who died while driving to work, the Star-Telegram reported.

The newspaper also reported Tuesday that five people remained missing, including a second granddaughter of the woman who died near Gainesville.

Jim Richardson, SBTC disaster relief director, was assessing mobile homes in Haltom City Tuesday and is expecting 10 to 12 volunteers on Wednesday to work about a week cleaning up.

“We trying to get it as clean as possible in order to dry out so that some of these folks can begin returning to their homes,” Richardson said.

Nearby, one mobile that stood about four feet off the ground was mostly unharmed, while the one next to it, two feet off the ground, was a total loss, Richardson said.

The SBTC team will be based at First Baptist Church of Fort Worth.
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  • Jerry Pierce