Bastrop News

Stormy weather doesn’t dampen Memorial Day ceremony

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An impressive Memorial Day tribute at Bastrop’s Fairview cemetery Monday did not dampen the fervor of those who gathered to honored those who died in all America’s wars – as well as those who are veterans, and current military. Families were also out and about enjoying the holiday around Bastrop, including children playing at Fisherman’s Park as a swollen Colorado River once again jumped its banks, partially flooding the lower end of the park.

But there were still – over the long weekend – major roads and low-water crossings shut down, downed trees and power poles, and house fire in Smithville that critically burned one man.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said – as of 1 p.m. Monday – that there had been “no fatalities” in the county area due to stormy conditions, including flooding. But there were still other storm-related events even as Bastrop County appeared to escape – at least over the Memorial Day weekend – the record flooding that hit the Blanco River area in Hays County and took at least one life. Several other people have been reported missing who were near that flooded river.

On Saturday, strong winds toppled a tall pine tree which fell into a Bluebonnet Electric power pole on Cardinal Drive, northeast of Bastrop. The road was shut down for a while as crews restored electricity and also removed the long tree from the road. While toned out to that call, firefighters also went to a nearby home on Hwy. 21 East, said Bastrop (ESD #2) volunteer firefighter Mike Norman. “About a 100-foot pine tree punched into the roof of the home,” Norman said. He said the two incidents, which happened closely together appeared to have been the result of “a straight-line wind.” He said he could see other nearby visible evidence of its long narrow path.

FM 535 near Smithville was temporarily closed for parts of Saturday because of flooding waters.  A listening to a police scanner gave evidence of other multiple closures of low-water crossings throughout the County, including Norma Jean Boulevard just west of Smithville. However, in some cases, with orange cones and signs serving as warnings, some motorists continue to ignore those warnings and drive thru flooded crossings.

Mike Fisher, Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator, confirmed on Monday afternoon that there had numerous closures of County roads, including: FM 1704, Old Sayers Road, Riverwood Road, Caldwell Road and “a lot of areas up around Paige.” Fisher said area residents can see/read ‘real time’ road closures at www.atxfloods.com – just click on the Red circles within Bastrop County to see which roads are closed. During early afternoon Monday, more than three dozen County roads had closure notices. Fisher also confirmed Pape’s statement that there had no storm-related deaths.

On Saturday, about 5 a.m., a home and nearby vehicle were totally destroyed in a house fire in the 100 block of Gentry Street in Smithville. A neighbor said two men escaped the blaze. Another man, parked in a pickup at the scene that was taped off after firefighters had left, said he worked with the men during the day and that one of the men was severely burned and “sent to a hospital in San Antonio” – likely the famed burn center at Brooke Army Medical Center.

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