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West Houston residents use boats, rafts to return home

HOUSTON – West Houston residents are frustrated with floodwaters that are stubbornly slow to recede. Many are no longer waiting to see dry land before returning to their homes in subdivisions off Briar Forest.

“It’s a mess, that’s the only thing we can say," said Pear Voie, who lives in the Lakeview Forest subdivision.

Water still filled much of the first floor of Voie's home. Voie and his family weren’t trying to save their home, just a few belongings.

“Clothes and china and stuff like that, that can actually be saved," Voie said.

Some of the family's furniture was put on a raft, thanks to the help of Matthew Barnette, Brandon Lincoln and Monty Clayton. The trio came to help a friend's grandfather retrieve some items using their jet ski and life raft, and wound up helping several people in the neighborhood.

Others waded into the water with boats in tow to help friends.

“So right now we’re taking clothing, dishes, pulling up any remaining furniture," said Jay Guisti, who was helping a friend.

The water has poured out of some homes, giving owners a chance to finally begin cleanup.

“Got the stuff taken off the first floor and today we went back to get the rugs to get them cleaned," said Grayland Noah.

Many of the people KPRC spoke with in these neighborhoods said they did not have flood insurance. They said they checked with neighbors, their banks and looked at the history of the area and saw that it never flooded, so they didn’t feel the need to buy insurance.

“We have homeowners and it covers nothing. The flood insurance wasn’t required because we’re not in the 500-year flood plain," said Charlie Bartlett.

With the flood waters now slowly receding and residents returning, there are some fears of looting. Police are checking IDs along Briar Forest and some officers were checking in on homes from the backs of city dump trucks; however, neighbors still worry.

“We’re just being on alert and offering security; we’re watching out for everybody, even the flooded homes," said Cheryl Norman.

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