JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jason Hensley and Kym Rose have been saving up for a wedding, but Hurricane Irma had other plans with their money this past weekend as it flooded their home with several feet of water overnight.
They awoke to find the water rising around 5 a.m. Monday
“We’ve already removed the carpets and all the new flooring that was floating around,” said Hensley, showing WTLV-TV around their home, now believed to be a total loss.
Since they aren’t in a flood zone they, like their neighbors, never invested in flood insurance and they were not instructed to evacuate before Irma hit.
“Most insurance companies are turning people away left and right so we’re all applying to FEMA,” Hensley said.
While their finances are a concern now, it was the least of their worries when they awoke to rushing water in their home on Sept. 11.
“I was sleeping right here, Jude was sleeping in his bassinet, his swing,” Rose said. “Chase ran and jumped on the bed, it startled me he was so wet so I got up and put my feet on the ground and knew, the house had flooded and started freaking out.”
The water line on their back wall outside marks 21 inches. It slopes downward toward their home
Their unlikely hero who woke them up in the dark was their dog, Chase.
“He’s about two years old, he’s a rescue dog, we rescued him, he returned the favor,” Henslet said.
After Chase woke them up the rescuing wasn’t over.
Their 8-month-old son Jude was sleeping just inches from the water next to their bed. It’s still hard for them to fathom today, especially since Jude likes to sleep face down.
But they acted quickly, calling Rose’s mom to meet them at the back of a neighbor’s yard. They walked through knee deep flood waters inside and out until they reached a barbed wire fence where Rose’ mother was on the opposite side on dry land.
“We’re in knee deep water passing our son off to Nima,” Hensley said. “There’s his blanket on the fence, you can see there are thorns.”
Rose’s mother took Jude to safety as they tried to save as much as they could in their home before meeting them.
“She’s our hero for getting him out of here but it’s a moment I won’t forget for a long time,” said Hensley.
With the odds against them, from barbed wire to unexpected flash floods in the dark, this family was able to escape safely and are appreciative for what they have left.
“We’ll start over somewhere new and be just as happy as we can be,” said Rose.
They believe the ultimate source of their flooding was the wall that surrounds their block, separating their neighborhood from the road. Hensley said it acted like a “fishbowl” retaining the water within their block of homes. They are hoping the city can look into the situation to make it safer in the future and consider either making them an evacuation zone or a flood zone.
A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe page and are encouraging others in need to do the same since it can take months to years to receive financial help from FEMA.