BELTON, Texas (KWTX) -- A grandfather rescued his five grandchildren from their flooded apartment before evacuating to central Texas.
Photo by Tianna Jenkins
Oneil McDaniel is from Dickinson, Texas. He lives in Creekside Apartments and takes care of his five grandchildren.
McDaniel says Aug. 25 was a normal day for him and his family, even though hurricane Harvey was heading to Texas.
Once Harvey made its way on land, McDaniel noticed that the water outside was rising, but he thought the rain would eventually stop.
He says when the rain continued over the weekend, his grandchildren started to get nervous.
After watching TV Sunday evening they all went to bed. McDaniel woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and was shocked what he saw.
“I stepped out of the bed and it was water up to my knees,” McDaniel said. “I knew it was time to get my grandbabies out of there.”
The 73-year-old grandfather pulled his grandchildren out of their flooded apartment one by one until they were all safely out and upstairs in a neighbor’s apartment.
He tried to go back inside to get diapers and other things, but realized the water was way too high.
"Stuff was floating up at the top of the ceiling and the bed and all my lamps and everything was gone,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel credits God for giving him the strength to save his babies.
Later on that day, they were rescued by the coast guard.
His oldest granddaughter, Syrahni Easley, is nine years old. Easley helps her grandfather take care of her little cousins and never thought anything like that could happen to them.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It was flooded everywhere and gas stations were under water,” Easley said. “We kept hitting poles because we couldn’t even see because the water was so tall.”
The family traveled by bus from Dickinson through the cities of Hitchcock, Santa Fe and Alvin and finally made their way to a safe haven in Bell County.
They were sent to First Baptist Belton, a church serving as a shelter site for evacuees. They say the volunteers have been nothing but loving and welcoming to them.
Traveling with nothing but the clothes on their backs, when asked if they needed anything, both McDaniel and Easley said no.
They were just blessed to be at a shelter where everyone is so kind and is thankful to the people of Bell County for all they have done.
“I’m so happy that you all welcomed us here and that we are so safe,” Easley said. “I just hope no one got hurt down there and I hope they are safe too.”
The family has made contact with their family members back home and hopes to be reunited with them soon.