As dawn broke this morning, the extent of the July 4th fire in the Forest Cove townhomes became apparent. It appears that the blaze affected three, or possibly four, of the northernmost townhomes on Timberline Drive. At least one of the units still smoldered when I took these pictures around 9 a.m. this morning.
Last night, equipment and firefighters from several Houston Fire Department stations lined up for blocks to fight and contain this fire. It was the second fire in this area this week and at least the third this year. When more than 17 feet of water swept through the townhomes during Harvey, they became uninhabitable.
No Electricity or Gas to Area
Former owners say the electricity and gas have been cut off since Harvey. Since then, the townhomes have become the domain of vandals, squatters, drug dealers and graffiti artists.
FEMA, through Harris County Flood Control, is buying out the properties. But the process is voluntary, long, and cumbersome. They treat each unit in a multi-unit complex, such as this one, as an individual sale. Only when buyouts for all townhomes in a complex are complete, can Flood Control schedule demolition.
The area will never be developed again. However, FEMA buyout deed restrictions do allow some flexibility. These pictures underscore the urgency to complete the buyout process and transform this area into something new with social value.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/5/2016
675 Days since Hurricane Harvey