Powerful storms and destructive winds blew through East Texas Friday, causing massive property damage.
In Elkhart, winds tore part of the roof from the old volunteer fire station, leaving the interior, wires, and insulation exposed. The storm blew debris from the former fire station into neighboring properties, and littered the lawn of the United Methodist Church across the street.
Building owners David and Geneva Rice, of Laporte, face fines of up to $1,000 a day, depending on the infraction, if they don't clean the debris and repair the building within 30 days after city code-enforcement officers notify them.
In September of 2017, city council members evicted the Elkhart Volunteer Fire Department from the building.
City officials are already collecting fines from Union Pacific for rocks that dumped from a rail car onto a city street last year.
Mayor Jennifer McCoy said the city is willing to work with the Rices.
“We're aware of the suddenness of the storm,” she said. “We are willing to work with the building owners if they contact us.”