Volunteers rescue family from flash flooding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers rescue family from flash flooding

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The Delagardelles spent most of Thursday afternoon watching their lives float by.

“There goes a coffee cup,” Joe Delagardelle said, looking at the flood waters surrounding his Fayette County home. Much of the county was hit by flash flooding throughout the afternoon.

Joe planned to work on his yard, but when the rain started, he decided to take a nap. When he woke up, water from the nearby creek was already creeping into his yard.

“Just a matter of 15 minutes, it was across the driveway,” he said. “It was coming up so quickly we just didn't know what to do.”

Then, he saw a car stalled out in the road, half-submerged in water. He jumped in his truck, and raced out to help.

“I didn't know if it was kid or an old woman, or who it was,” he said. “I just grabbed the chain and went out there.”

But as his truck went deeper into the water, the engine started to sputter. To keep it from stalling, he gunned it through the water to other side. Stephanie was left on the front porch of their home with their two dogs.

Rescuers arrived soon after. They didn't have time to wait for a boat, so they waded into the water.

“It got up to my waist,” said James Davis, Chief Deputy for the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

Everyone was pulled to safety, including a bystander that had entered the water trying to reach the stranded driver.

“This is what we train for, this is what we come together for,” Davis said. “Hats off to everyone, no one has been hurt and that's the most important part.”

Now, the Delagardelles are together with their dogs, safe, and ready for what's next.

“One step at a time, wait for the water to come down and check it out,” Joe said, looking at his home.

Soon after, the water receded enough for them to get back into the house. Damage was contained to the basement, and the couple does have flood insurance.


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