Flood victim: 'I thought I was going to die'

Posted July 17

Torrential rain Saturday night led to water rescues and a huge mess for dozens of people in Raleigh and Durham.

At least 30 apartment units in a West Raleigh community were damaged by floodwater during the storms.

Mud covered the walls in the living room and kitchen of Henrietta Sinclair’s apartment, where two to three feet of water toppled the refrigerator.

“I was praying to God that the water don’t rise no more,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair and her daughter trudged out to the car, but couldn’t open the doors because of the high water levels. They spent the night upstairs, out of the water’s reach.

“I’m on a fixed income. Everything I got is damaged and I’ve got to start from scratch,” she said.

Residents in the Brook Hill apartments, which has two creeks running through it, have seen flooding before, but nothing as bad as what happened Saturday night.

Jessica Delgado was watching a movie when someone pounded on her door, warning her of the flooding.

“It happened really fast,” Delgado recalled. “I’m never going to forget this. I thought I was going to die yesterday. It was so scary.”

Ebadullah Nasery helped a family of seven, including a 2-year-old, as water swallowed their car.

“They were screaming and the cars here were all flooded,” he said.

Firefighters came in with boats to rescue about 15 people.

Property manager Susan Davis said she has a disaster recovery companies doing cleanup at the apartment complex. She said management will do everything it can to help tenants, many of whom did not have flood insurance.

Davis said residents who can’t stay in their apartments will be provided with hotel rooms and buildings are being assessed to determine whether or not they are still inhabitable.

Red Cross opens shelter for Durham flood victims

The drenching rains also soaked parts of Durham, causing several roads to flood.

All along Fayetteville Street in Durham, people were working overtime trying to dry out their businesses and salvage what they could. Several businesses had merchandise and furniture outside while they tried to clean up.

Fatu Sarr's hair salon was in ruins and just yards away, a barber shop owner was spraying away debris left behind by the storm.

"Thank God we were in there and we were able to get a lot of stuff off the floor. Not that much merchandise got wet so thank God for that but it definitely caught us off guard. It was coming fast," said business owner Jamaal McDuffie.

At the nearby Eagle Point apartments, several people in first floor units were forced upstairs when the water reached over the tops of cars in the parking lot.

Clem Grandy, who found himself waiting out the storm with an upstairs neighbor, said Sunday he was trying to figure out a long-term plan.

“All of a sudden, I felt my floor being wet, bathroom wet. I came outside and…the river was coming down this way,” Grandy said.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at Hillside High School on Sunday morning, providing food and a dry bed for people who might need assistance. Six people were being sheltered Sunday evening, according to the Red Cross.

"We will also be providing comfort kits. Those comfort kits include brooms, bleach, face masks to help with the cleanup efforts," said Red Cross spokeswoman Brittany Jennings.

Durham officials said that no deaths or significant injuries occurred as a result of the flooding. They warned that more downed trees and damage is possible as grounds in the area remained soaked.

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  • Norman Lewis Jul 18, 12:31 a.m.
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    They were warned the flooding was coming and yet they waited until the water was up to the level of their car door before trying to leave? ????????? I would have been looking out the door and left as soon as I saw water rising, not wait until it was too late. Where is common sense in this world?