A Florida woman swam to safety in rising flood waters with her 1-year-old grandson on her back. Storm surge from Hurricane Sally forced the two from their home.
Ceteria Holley told Wear TV she climbed on top of the dining room table after water flooded her Pensacola home.
“At first it was my belongings, then it went to me, my grandbaby and my daughter… Are we gonna make it through the night? Are we gonna survive this? Because it was that bad,” she said.
The water continued to rise that morning, forcing Holley to evacuate her home in the Forrest Creek Apartment Complex. Holley escaped by swimming through her back window, the only exit not blocked by the waters. She rescued her grandson by putting the infant on her back so he wouldn’t drown.
“We ended up climbing out my back window and swimming to higher ground behind us. And water moccasins were right beside me swimming. I was so scared,” she said.
Several residents escaped the apartment complex during Hurricane Sally.
Holley was one of several residents who escaped from the apartment complex. John Honeycutt, a local man, rescued seven people and two dogs from the complex on his canoe.
“I heard children crying so I went over there, got me a canoe boat, and I went through here saving people,” he said.
Making landfall last Wednesday (Sept. 16), Hurricane Sally swept through parts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as a Category 2 storm. Water from the storm damaged houses and left over 440,000 people without power, according to Newsweek.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made an emergency declaration prior to the hurricane, but Escambia County where Holley lives hasn’t received an emergency declaration from FEMA yet. Holley said she is thankful for her life. But she feels devastated by her loss.
“I don’t because at the end of the day this is all I had,” Holley said. “I was rock bottom before I came here. I don’t have nothing….put yourself in our shoes. This isn’t right. This isn’t fair.”