Jess Pounds Sees Hurricane Harvey Damage Up Close and Personal

For most Americans, scenes of horrific hurricane damage are distant summer memories. But for American Structurepoint Project Manager Jess Pounds, these scenes are his daily reality while working as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public assistance site inspector in Texas.

Jess deployed in late September under our contract with FEMA to inspect and evaluate the eligibility of disaster-related damages. Because Jess is a structural engineer, he also qualifies as a technical specialist who can assess a facility’s structural damage. He has inspected dozens of county- and city-owned properties within a 90-mile radius of Corpus Christi, including school buildings, airports, hospitals, fire departments, water plants, and a county sheriff department.

Debris still lines the streets more than three months after a Category 4 Hurricane Harvey slammed directly into the coastal Texas town of Rockport, population 10,000. Rockport ranks as the hardest-hit area that Jess has seen.

“It is all very surreal to see people still displaced from their homes and the big debris collected in the median of the highway. Many homes and other structures in Rockport were completely destroyed by Harvey.”

Jess assessed damage at the Aransas County Sheriff’s Department where hurricane winds toppled a 300-ft radio tower and caused massive damage to parked police vehicles. “The area looked like a battlefield,” he said. “The wind picked up the stone ballast (half-inch diameter rocks) on top of the roof, and those rocks acted like shrapnel, blowing out the windows of the police cars.”

Jess expects to remain in Texas until late January. Meanwhile, several Construction Inspection and Investigative staff are awaiting deployment to inspect Hurricane Irma damage in Florida. As of our publication date, David Maples has been approved for a 90-day assignment. A big thank you goes out to all current and future American Structurepoint staff working to help communities qualify for FEMA funds and rebuild their quality of life.

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