Tuesday 24 April 2018

'Our great escape' - Irishman and young family rescued from flooded home during historic Storm Harvey

Sean with his wife Jenni and their three children
Sean with his wife Jenni and their three children

Kathy Armstrong

An Irishman living in Texas has spoken about how his young family had to be evacuated from their home after it was flooded by over five foot of water during Storm Harvey.

Sean O'Loughlin (42) has praised people pulling together during the historic flood event, which has so far killed at least 22 people.

Sean, who is originally from Templeogue in Dublin but has been living north of Houston, Texas, told Independent.ie how the emergency unfolded.

He said: "It was only really last Friday that we hard that the hurricane would definitely hit us, I was off work so I stocked up on supplies but I wasn't too worried.

"It started raining heavily on Saturday but we thought that since we had a major flood here last year and that only got about halfway up our street it would be fine.

"Then on Sunday it was creeping up and up every hour so we knew we might be in trouble, we hunkered down, turned off the electricity in our house and stayed upstairs.

"It started trickling in by 9pm and by midnight there was about a foot of water in our house."

Sean and his wife Jenni decided at that point it was time to get themselves and their three young children out of the house.

He said: "We probably could have stayed in the house and I know some of our neighbours did stay but our children are quite young and you don't know what's in the water either.

"So we called to be evacuated and the rescue boat arrived the next morning, by that stage there was around five foot of water in our house."

Sean, who works as a business analyst, and his family have been able to stay with friends nearby whose home wasn't flooded.

Thousands of people have been displaced over the last few days and Sean has commended people for helping each other.

He said: "We were only able to return to the house this morning, there was a lot of stuff damaged but thankfully the water didn't get higher than a few feet so everything we left on countertops was okay.

"The clean up begins now and then we'll help our neighbours too.

"People in Texas really rally around each other, it's impressive to see people acting so selflessly.

"Today is the first day it's stopped raining, before that it was about getting people to safety and now we'll have to assess the aftermath."

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