Bastrop recovery team reaches milestone in rebuilding effort after fires

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — Renae Reed and her husband Harold are now the proud new owners of a two-bedroom, two-bath home in Bastrop County. Their fire was destroyed during the 2011 wildfires.

Since then, life has been a struggle for the family. They had been living in a shelter since their home burned to the ground.

“We haven’t been together over the past 2 1/2 years,” said Renae Reed. “(Now) we can all live together in a home.”

“It’s going to be a big help,” Harold said laughing about enjoying the comforts of having his own bathroom. “You know, two women, they can take forever.”

Dozens of volunteers joined the Reeds to celebrate the completion of their home. It marked the 100th house rebuilt by the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team.

“It was also monumental,” Christine Files said about the group’s first rebuilt home, which was finished March 8, 2012.

But Tuesday’s celebration was just a pause in the overall effort.

“We’re near three years since we started the recovery from this fire,” said Mike Fisher with the County’s Emergency Management Office. “Every time we accomplish something I count that as another building block.”

While the team was happy to help, they also felt a sense of relief as they handed over the keys.

“It feels good that there is no more work,” Files said of the Reeds home. “To be quite honest, it’s time for us to take a break too.”

Other teams are expected to finish 20 more homes in the next 90 days. At that point, the $1.5 million grant, along with other moneys, will expire and The Bastrop County Recovery Team will cease all operations.

Nearly 1,700 homes were destroyed in the fire. The group dedicated their efforts to helping the 276 homeowners who did not have insurance, and the 747 others who were living low income households.

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