JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Torrential downpours which left parts of Southeast Texas underwater began to recede Sunday, allowing displaced residents the chance to see the damage the storms left behind. Of those forced to evacuate, Ambika Seastrunk.
"I tried to load up everybody I could in my truck," Seastrunk said.
She and her five children sought shelter at the First Baptist Church in Kirbyville. A large room and the nearly 60 other people inside becoming almost like family.
Together they'd wait out the storm, forced to come to terms that their homes may be washed away.
That would be the least of Seastrunk's worries.
"We got a phone call saying that my house was on fire," Seastrunk said.
Officials say rising waters came too close to still live wires causing Seastrunk's already flooded home to go up in flames.
"Me and my kids, like, we don't have anything, we don't have nothing. You look forward to go back and you know, maybe the water's there. We'll clean the water, but when you don't have anything to look forward to…it's pretty bad," Seastrunk said.
She went back to the home in Newton County on Saturday.
"My room is gone and the kids' room, the smoke, it's just melted," Seastrunk said.
A return more bitter than sweet; just days ago, Seastrunk made her final mortgage payment.
"I still have my title in my purse. It's like I paid it off for nothing," Seastrunk said.
For now, she and her children will live with her mother. And though the future is uncertain…
"I'm trying to smile through it all; It's got to get better, I guess. When you don't have nothing, the only thing you can do is look forward to God and lean on him," Seastrunk said.
C.E.R.T or the Community Emergency Response Team has provided resources and shelter to displaced Southeast Texas flood victims. For more information on how you can donate, contact Charles Burchett, C.E.R.T Program Director, at (409) 423-2739.