Chief Acevedo to flood victims: "I apologize from the bottom of all of our hearts"



Posted on November 6, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 12:20 AM

AUSTIN – It was standing room only at Perez Elementary School in Southeast Austin as hundreds of flood victims packed into the cafeteria for an informational Town Hall meeting.

A bevy of city leaders from Austin’s fire and police chiefs, to even a few elected officials, were there to field countless questions from attendees Tuesday night.

Most flood victims who showed up told KVUE they were mainly concerned about two things: What the City is doing to help homeowners get back on their feet, and what federal money is available to buy out flooded homes.

City leaders told the crowd that emergency funds were used to buy out 23 homes in the Onion Creek neighborhood which were the hardest hit by flood waters.

About 1,000 homes are impacted all together.

There was also a bit of angst during Austin City Manager Marc Ott’s talk when he told the crowd that first responders went door to door warning people to get out of their homes. Many in the crowd erupted in unison saying that no one knocked on their doors.

Moments later when it was Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo’s turn at the podium, he apologized to the crowd. He told them the city manager was given erroneous information.

“We relied too much on technology and gauges that were not working properly, instead of relying on you. And for that I apologize from the bottom of all of our hearts,” said Acevedo. The crowd then gave him a standing ovation.

The chief and other City leaders say a big part of the problem was just how quickly Onion Creek rose: 15 feet in 11 minutes.

Before the meeting was over, City leaders informed attendees that staffers were currently in Washington, D.C. trying to get federal money for more buyouts.

The City released the following maps showing where damage occurred in Onion Creek:

Dove Springs Recreation Center is still being used as a Flood Assistance Center. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day at 5801 Ainez Drive.

For other locations and ways to help flood victims, go here.