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The damage has been done and it's extensive in parts of East Texas after a line of severe storms moved through Anderson, Henderson, Smith, Gregg and Upshur counties Tuesday evening leaving behind a trail of destruction.

A couple of the hardest-hit areas were the historic Azalea District south of Downtown Tyler along with portions of Gladewater. Extremely large trees came crashing down on power lines, streets and homes as downbursts of wind roared through these historic areas at more than 60 to 70 miles per hour.

Clean up of these areas began immediately with city crews being dispatched to clear the city streets that they could, neighbors began helping neighbors as blue tarps started to appear to cover the holes in the roofs of homes that were damaged by falling trees.

As citizens begin to repair and rebuild, unfortunately, the scammers come out looking to take advantage of a tragedy that someone has undergone. As homeowners begin the rebuilding process, they need to be wary of contractor fraud and scams when it comes to repairing their homes.

Don't become a victim of fraud or a scam. Stay alert through the whole process, from an estimate on repairs to the final sweep of the job site clean-up. The Better Business Bureau has a complete list of specific tips for you so that you don't become a victim a second time after a natural disaster. Those tips include:

  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Do your research on who will do your repairs.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Be careful of door-to-door contractors.
  • Don't sign over an insurance check to the contractor.
  • Be wary of places they want to repair that you can't see.
  • Do not pay for complete repairs in full upfront.

It's a good idea to stay with a local reputable company to do the repairs on your home. You should also look for second and third opinions on the state of your home and get an estimate from each and then formulate your decision. Check with the Better Business Bureau before going with any company and check to see if they are in good standing and if there are any complaints filed against the company you are leaning towards to do your repairs.

It will take time to get repairs completed, but being patient and not rushing could save a lot of time and precious energy later on. If after going with a contractor and you feel like you're being scammed, contact your local police department and the Better Business Bureau.

The Aftermath of Tuesday Night's (April 12) Severe Storms in Tyler

I took a moment to drive through the Azalea District, Bergfeld Park and Downtown area of Tyler to get pictures of the damage in the area.

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