One Year Ago Tonight, Flooded Townhomes Burned for Third Time Since Harvey

On July 4, 2019, 10 pieces of fire equipment responded to a fire at the Forest Cove Townhomes on Timberline Drive. It was the second fire that week and the third that year. Unfortunately, the townhomes that burned that night still stand.

Remnants of fire one year ago still stand today.

The once-beautiful townhomes, in the floodway of the West Fork, were designed to have first floors that flooded. But Harvey’s raging floodwaters reached well into the second floors. 240,000 cubic feet per second raging down the West Fork didn’t leave much. After Harvey, structural instability made these townhomes unsafe and uninhabitable.

Townhomes on Aqua Vista in Forest Cove that were demolished by Harvey and then HCFCD.

Then came the squatters, looters, illegal dumpers and graffiti artists. FEMA made these townhomes the centerpiece of a 2018 video. Little has changed since then, a stain on the Agency’s reputation.

Almost three years after Harvey, little has changed except for the accumulation of discarded mattresses and couches that grows larger every week.

Buyout of Townhomes Slow and Cumbersome

Today, Harris County Flood Control (HCFCD) has bought out and torn down several of the buildings within this complex. But the process is slow and cumbersome. HCFCD can tear nothing down until all units in a building have been bought.

Without pointing a finger at anyone, the entire process, which stretches from Marina Drive to Pennsylvania Avenue is a logistical nightmare. Such eyesores lower property values and drag down communities.

In some communities, burned homes can be condemned and torn down within 30 days. But the eyesore below has stood for a full year. It has attracted illegal dumping and and anti-social graffiti.

After viewing the image above, HCFCD said it would accelerate these buyouts. Resolution can’t come too soon for my taste. They serve only one purpose at this point – as a stark reminder not to build near a river.

Posted by Bob Rehak on July 4, 2020

1040 Days after Hurricane Harvey