Texans band together amid fallout from energy crisis

Officials have promised an investigation into the handling of the crisis, during which at least 32 people have died. As some face mounting hardships, people from far and wide have stepped up to help.
8:11 | 02/25/21

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Transcript for Texans band together amid fallout from energy crisis
Reporter: I can't imagine what it's like for you to see it like this. It's terrible. I've never seen a house like this. Reporter: Briana Bolden tells me she could smell the soaked, rotting wood from outside the front door of her grandmother's house before king into this. These pictures and the memories they capture all under water. And this is actually my big mama right here. This is the old picture, and that's the pastor's wife. Reporter: For half a century her grandparents filled this home with children and grandchildren, home-cooked meals, tiny reminders of a family growing together. It's a lot of memories at this house. Reporter: Now this house, like so many in Texas, has been gutted, flooded by burst pipes in last week's historic winter storm. The water, it was up on your couches, look. Reporter: The damage is just a fraction of the devastation in Texas that killed 32 people and will take months or years and billions of dollars to clean up. So how did it all go so long so quickly? Texas has more than enough generating capacity to handle itself. It was just the state of affairs of that equipment and the state of affairs of the management of that equipment that caused this problem. Reporter: Texas is the only state in the continental U.S. With an independent energy grid, meaning it does not connect to any other state's power source. So when that merciless winter weather hit in one of the warmest regions of the country, people cranked up their heaters, and the energy demand surged. When that system shut down, there was nowhere to turn for power. There was no place for the Texas grid to go. There are a couple of small lines, extension cords, to the east and the west. But that's not enough, really, to take up a 40% drop in Texas generation. Reporter: The result was more than 3 million Texas residents in the dark and cold, at one point, leading many to take drastic measures. We're running dangerously low on water. So now what we've been doing all day is actually coming outside, getting snow, putting it in our pots, and heating it on our propane grill. Reporter: Then pipes began to freeze. And burst. Shutting down water treatment plants across the state, leaving almost 15 million Texans having to boil their water before it was safe to drink. How can we boil water? We don't have power. Reporter: The electric reliability council of Texas, ercot, had been warned they were vulnerable to freezing temperatures. The state legislature held hearings on this issue in 2011 when the state experienced a major freeze. There were numerous hearings, hundreds of pages of recommendations, but all made nobody actually changed incentives so that the generators would have a financial reason to weatherize. Reporter: This week, essential ercot board members resigned in the wake of this disaster. Today in a virtual ercot board of directors meeting, the chairwoman acknowledged the pain and suffering of Texans. Her resignation effective after the meeting ended. All of our hearts go out to all of you who have had to go without electricity, heat, water, medicine, and food during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences, in some cases the loss of a loved one. Reporter: State leaders have promised an investigation into ercot's handling of the crisis, and members of both parties and the governor are vowing to make sure Texans aren't on the hook for those astronomical electric bills. At a time when essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers. You will get those answers. Reporter: But people like Briana Bolden are in need of far more immediate solutions. She's facing mounting hardships, having recently lost her father and grandfather. I mean, it sounds like your grandmother doesn't have home insurance? She don't, she couldn't afford it anymore. Every generation been through this house. My papa really worked hard for this house. I'm sorry. Reporter: Statewide, there is so much damage from burst pipes, plumbers can't keep up. You see the water. We have another one right here. Reporter: Alvarado Almeda plumbing says his crews have been working around the clock. It's bad. Reporter: They're receiving more calls than they can answer. It's heartbreaking to tell somebody you can't make it. We drove down here, 25 hours. Reporter: Plumber Andrew Mitchell and his family driving all the way from New Jersey with a car full of equipment and parts in short supply here. We're just going to see what we can do to help out the Texas residents. Reporter: Also converging in Texas to help out the cajun Navy, civilian volunteers known for using their big trucks and small boats for rescues during major storms, like hurricane Harvey in 2017. We talked with a lot of people around here who have been impacted by hurricane Harvey first, now dealing with this. A lot of people said they think this is worse. When a hurricane's coming in, we have more -- we know what's going to happen. With this disaster, we did not know what was coming, the community was not prepared. No one knew what was coming, period. Reporter: This is Marisa. She spent a decade doing aid work in Africa. When disaster struck at home, she was one of the first on the front lines. The cajun Navy has gotten quite good, quickly setting up distribution sites like this one. With so many people impacted, what's perhaps most useful is their platform and their decks. Cajun Navy Kraus sources disasters. Once we find the need, we use the social media platform and put the word out there. People want to help. Reporter: On this day, they're delivering to Katy, Texas, home to just over 20,000, with some areas still under a boil water notice. Did you reach out to cajun Navy? Sure did. Reporter: Daishi Crespo runs the local Christian ministry here in Katy, the group helping several hundred families, many of whom haven't even recovered from hurricane Harvey. It's a disaster on top of a when we have families that are struggling financially, trying to find a way how they can become resilient, and they experience something like this? It's like another setback. You seem like a hopeful person. We have to. How? We have to. You don't have another choice? We have to. We have to have hope. Reporter: And that determination to stand together in the face of this challenge, or any that follow, is lifting up communities across Texas. The distribution lines packed with volunteers handing out water they needed themselves. The unopened restaurants giving away meals in the parking lot. We still haven't started on the garage. We've still been in the living room. Reporter: Even Briana Bolden, who was willing to rebuild her grandmother's house herself, has learned she's not alone. All of a sudden, I'm getting phone calls from people I don't even know. I'm like, oh. What did that mean to you? It means a lot.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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