A helicopter pilot talks to a family in the Montagne Center parking lot, Aug. 30. The Montagne was used as a shelter for Hurricane Harvey victims.

A helicopter pilot talks to a family in the Montagne Center parking lot, Aug. 30. The Montagne was used as a shelter for Hurricane Harvey victims.

Montagne Center served as refuge for Harvey evacuees

Approximately 470 people from Port Arthur, Beaumont and surrounding areas were evacuated from their homes during Hurricane Harvey and brought by the United States Airforce to seek shelter in Lamar University’s Montagne Center, Aug. 30.

“As far as the operation as a whole, it’s what we call ‘The Emergency Operation Center’ when the storm was hitting Houston we got everyone in place and set up a plan,” Lamar Police Captain Terence Simon said. “Once the storm got closer we activated our Instant Command System. We then set up our locations to evacuate people.”

Calvin Carrier, Houston Police Department Deputy Chief, was the shelter’s coordinator.

“My job is basically to oversee the operations of the shelter making sure everything runs smoothly and I will be a liaison between different agencies making sure everyone is helped,” he said.

A small boy eats a snack in Montagne Center, Aug. 30. He was part of an evacuated family.

A small boy eats a snack in Montagne Center, Aug. 30. He was part of an evacuated family.

Prior to coming to Beaumont, Carrier was stranded in Katy.

“My job is to help people, but for the last few days I was helpless to help myself,” he said. “Now I am here as a representative to help people receive shelter.”

Many people were relocated because their homes were flooded. Some of the refugees shared their experiences about what had transpired.

“It was scary,” Port Arthur native Cynthia Harmon said. “Actually, I was standing up to cook at the stove then I saw some water started rushing up from out of nowhere.”

Harmon said she and her children had to grab everything they could, including food and water, before taking shelter upstairs in their attic.

Port Arthur native Regina Garcia said her family was stranded by the Port Arthur flooding.

“The water rose up really high in our home and we got stuck out there for two days until the rescue team came by to get us — it was just really devastating out there for us,” she said.

Beaumont native Patrick Alcendor had a positive attitude towards the damage hurricane Harvey inflicted on his apartment.

“I’ve been through a hurricane before so there wasn’t that much to prepare for, I had food, water, and all of my necessities with me,” he said.

Cade Smith, UP staff writer

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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