1 year later: Family in Cypress still displaced after 2021 winter freeze

CYPRESS – One year after a winter freeze claimed the lives of over 200 Texans, a family in Cypress remains displaced, living out of a rental as their home sits gutted.

Mike and Lisa Anderson said a loud bang forced them into their living room the morning of Feb. 16, 2021.

“We heard something out here in this room, ran out here and water is just pouring. It’s pouring from the ceiling,” said Mike Anderson.

The family of four, including two teenagers, had huddled together in a bedroom to keep warm the night prior. 

Once the pipes burst, the water flowed and wouldn’t stop.

“Water was just coming through here, as well,” said Lisa Anderson, referring to the space underneath the kitchen cabinets. “I don’t even know how there was so much water,” she added.

The Andersons were forced to gut their entire home. They first moved to a hotel for three weeks. After that, they moved into an apartment for what they thought would be a few months. Wednesday officially marked one year since they have been displaced.

“As each month went by, it got worse,” Lisa Anderson said.

The Anderson’s had to get three mold remediations.  The previous two didn’t quite remove the mold that had overcome their home. 

Mold aside, the Anderson’s problems mounted. ”Insurance initially offered us a very tiny amount to cover the repairs to the house. So much so, we ended up getting a public adjuster involved,” Mike Anderson said. 

They said their insurance company finally came around with a check last December that was enough to complete repairs.

“I’m angry. I’m really angry at this point,” Lisa Anderson said.

They said a lack of accountability fuels their anger and that years of mistakes, brought to light by last year’s blackout, have not been fully addressed.

“There needs to be some accountability for the companies ERCOT, PUC, even Governor Abbott for having known that this was a possibility that this could happen and things weren’t taken care of,” Lisa Anderson said.

“It’s hard. It’s hard,” said Mike Anderson as he spoke about his family living and working in an apartment. 

Their concerns aside, the Anderson’s said they feel for the families of those whose lives were taken during the freeze.  

“There are families who have lost loved ones, like, they froze to death, froze to death, in their beds, and there hasn’t been accountability for that.”

About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.