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Katy Buc-ees Hosts First Responders Heading to California Wildfires


November 12, 2018

Natalie Cook Clark

Today firefighters and first responders answer Texas Governor Abbott's call to send aid to California where the worst wildfires in recorded history continue to devastate the area. ​

Engine Boss Robert Hebert, Lieutenant Alfred Duran, Firefighter Keith Lowell, and Firefighter Aaron McNeil met many first responders at Katy's Buc-ees this morning to deploy out the California. Photo credit: Natasha Barrett. ​

Katy's Buc-ees once again serves as a staging area for first responders heading to help those in need. Last year their parking lot was full of trucks and boats to help Harvey victims. "We are welcoming first responders heading out west. This is an informal staging area but it was decided that this is a good location to meet and we're happy to play our part," says Jeff Nadalo, General Counsel of Buc-ees. Katy still remembers all too well how aide was needed and appreciated from both local first responders and those who traveled during Harvey and it's aftermath. A dozen or so fire departments from across the Houston area met up at Buc-ees this morning and are now on the road headed to California. Baytown Fire Department deployed four firefighters. Of the four this will be the second California wildfire deployment for two of them.

Katy Magazine reader Krystal Nalesnik took this picture this morning at the Katy Buc-ees.

"They are going on a 14 day assignment and have to be prepared for anything," says Natasha Barrett, Strategic Communications Manager for the City of Baytown. "They are traveling with supplies such tents because they will be camping out and tools to handle large structures. Even though this is a different fire from what they are used to they have been trained and are ready to help."

Even though the fires are in California, for some Katy residents it's hitting close to home. Faith Colopy has family (three different households) in Paradise, California that lost their homes when the fire totally destroyed their community. "It left them homeless, jobless, and with nothing but the clothes they were wearing during their evacuation," explains Colopy. She is currently working to get them to Katy and help them through this hardship.

There are currently three wildfires raging across California. Authorities have reported 42 dead in Camp Fire, which is devastating Northern California, The death toll is expected to rise. The fire started last Thursday and has burned at least 164 square miles. It is 65 percent contained, has destroyed 6,453 homes and a total 6,713 structures. Making this the most destructive fire in California state history.

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