Grimes County residents evacuate ahead of advancing wildfire

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by Shern-Min Chow / KHOU 11 NEWS

khou.com

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 21 at 10:02 AM

HOUSTON -- A steady stream of vehicles rolled down the Grimes Country roads Monday carrying families and necessities.

Signs of fire danger loomed everywhere, from heavy smoke overhead to roadside burn-ban notices.

Livestock was also on the move, as well as the food to feed them. Huge bales of precious hay, another victim of the drought, were rumbling across town.

The Legge-Peacock family was joining the caravan after a visit from the Grimes County Sheriff.

Samme Legge said he told her they had to leave.

“No option,” Legge said the sheriff said. “Get out now.”

Two homes and four generations were loading up three vehicles with one question on their mind.

“Where am I gonna live next, the house is gonna be gone if fire gets to it,” said John Peacock.

From their driveway, they watched their neighbors repeating the same drill.

The whole family -- from 6-year-old Jacoby on up to 79-year-old Great Grandpa Stanley-- was literally packing up their troubles. Grandma Jackie needs oxygen and more. She is handicapped and requires a generator.  Great Grandpa just had a triple bypass surgery.

The family also had to corral seven dogs, all part of the extended family.

The blaze hit close to home, in more ways than one. Great Grandma Bobbye Legge’s son is the Plantersville Fire chief Stanley Legge. Her boy is on the front line now, and family or not, there were no exceptions to the evacuation.

“Oh no, absolutely not,” Bobbye Legge said. “We have to be the good example; we have not burned a match during the ban.”

Everyone knows their job, including Grandma Jackie. Just the trip to the driveway takes its toll.

 “I have to drive because it’s a handicapped van,” she said breathing heavily.

It was a team effort as Grandma Jackie maneuvered to get behind the wheel. After taking another breath, the crew was finally ready to hit the road.

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