Brazoria man escapes tragedy

Brazoria resident Steven Watkins sits outside of his home in the 1200 block of South Brooks Street on Tuesday, a day after winds from Hurricane Nicholas toppled a tree onto the RV.

Brazoria resident Steven Watkins believes he was only a few feet away from dying after a tree crushed his home during Hurricane Nicholas’s landfall.

Firefighters scrambled about 10 p.m. Monday to remove a tree that fell on Watkins’s home and pinned him underneath debris for 10 minutes.

Watkins was doing his best to make it through the violent winds and rain when he saw a tree crush his trailer on the 1200 block of South Brooks Street.

Watkins also saw the destruction the wind had caused to his neighbors nearby.

“I knew the wind was going be a problem, and it just didn’t let up,” Watkins said. “I was standing right at the doorway when I saw the tree come down.”

Watkins thanked the Lord that firefighters were already in the area within seconds to rescue him. Had they not, Hawkins wonders if he would still be alive.

“I prayed because there was a lot of action going on,” Walkins said. “I was sure hoping none of the limbs would come down on me while I was like that. I just said a prayer and I got out of there.”

Although Hawkins was now homeless, he was grateful to be alive and relatively unscathed physically.

“If I had been in that little-bitty bathroom, I definitely would’ve been dead,” Hawkins said. “It’s just a miracle. I just have a little knee problem, just some bumps and bruises and pulled it.”

County Parks Director Bryan Frazier concurred that hurricane-powered winds were the most detrimental to residents as he passed by Quintana Beach and the pavilion roofs ripped from its hinges.

“There are smashed in windows and boardwalks damaged,” Frazier said. “There are fishing piers where the entire front is gone from the storm surge and a lot of cleanups needed and a lot of damage was done.”

The high winds caused numerous downed trees, power lines and telecommunication lines throughout the greater Houston area.

PowerOutage.us reported that about 45,129 CenterPoint Energy customers and 33,074 Texas-New Mexico Power customers within Brazoria County were still without power as of 3 p.m Tuesday.

TNMP crews completed preliminary assessments and expected customers in the Gulf Coast region restored by 6 p.m. Friday, spokesman Eric Paul said.

“Let me stress – that’s the estimate for final customers to be restored,” Paul said in a statement. “Customers will continue to be restored today and through the week. All estimates, of course, are subject to change. The reduction in numbers of impacted customers may appear to “slow down” as the days go on, but that won’t really be the case. It’s just that as we use our triage approach in conducting restoration work, subsequent efforts will restore fewer and fewer customers each.”

Jaime Moreno, the owner of Moreno Tree Service, dealt with calls since Monday night and is fully booked through the end of Wednesday with jobs.

“We have been pretty busy and it’s been all day,” Moreno said. “We have seen big trees crash into houses and a mixture of smaller limbs.”

During Nicholas’s aftermath, flooding was not the main issue, particularly in high-risk areas near the San Bernard River.

Sweeny City Manager Reece Cook and West Columbia Mayor Laurie Kincannon did not have any significant drainage issues.

Frazier and his staff visited Hanson County Park — which historically has had numerous flooding incidents — and found the area relatively good.

“The San Bernard is certainly up right now but is still within its banks,” Frazier said. “It’s up over the front edge of the fishing dock at the park, but it’s in pretty good shape. There some down limbs, down trees, but buy and large Hanson Park is looking pretty good, better than other parts.”

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-234-0149.

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