Black Forest Community Recounts Damage Done By Rita - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/30/05 - Angelina County

Black Forest Community Recounts Damage Done By Rita

by Ramonica Jones

Many communities were heavily damaged in Angelina County when Rita made landfall, but not nearly as devastated as Black Forest.

Black Forest is a small community of about 100 residents, just south of Zavalla. It's a tiny area still dealing with some big damage from the storm. Esther Moel now needs a new roof on her home, but that's nothing compared to the damage some of her neighbors had.

"[We were] very, very lucky. We had one pine tree here at the end of the property that blew over and landed on these trees over here, but the county was out, and that was on [a] county easement, so they took it down," says Moel.

After the storm, you couldn't even see three-mile road because of all the fallen trees. A month later, the road is back open.

"It has greatly improved. Got the trees cleaned up around the neighborhood, water's been restored, the electricity's been restored. I believe everybody's got phone and everything right now. I'm not quite sure the water's drinkable quite yet, but getting close to it," says Jack Helbert.

Black Forest isn't quite the community it used to be. Residents are still hauling, gathering, and collecting piles of debris, hoping to get things cleaned up before the next storm hits.

There's not much left to clean up in Black Forest except for a few piles of debris here and there. It took several weeks for county workers to clear all the roads in the community, but they're finally all passable. Some homeowners and businesses are still cluttered with fallen trees and limbs, but work crews are expected to pick up leftover storm debris over the next few weeks.

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