2 minute readDisaster

Surviving Disaster for the Second Time

Written by Stefanie Arcangelo, American Red Cross for Texas Gulf Coast Blog

At 1:45 a.m. on March 10, 2016, Stacey Kellum and her family were watching the creek, fed by the Sabine River, near their home. The creek was rising, but didn’t appear to be a threat. The family was awoken at 3 a.m. by the sound of their dog barking. They looked out the window and could tell water was knee deep. By 5 a.m., the water was waist deep outside their home and the family decided to evacuate by boat.

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Stacey Kellum of Kirbyville hugs Red Cross volunteer Stefanie Arcangelo outside her home. This is the second time in 10 years Stacey lost her home to a flood. Photo: Jay Bonafede, American Red Cross

Kellum had lived on this block in Kirbyville, right near her parents and grandparents, for nearly 20 years. The recent flooding brought back memories for Stacey. “10 years ago in October, this same flood came,” said Kellum. “We lost that home and built this one. We had an inspector come out to look at the property where we were rebuilding; he told us the water hadn’t been up this high in 100 years.”

stacey2Stacey Kellum’s home is now destroyed after taking on nearly six feet of water during the Southeast Texas flood on March 10, 2016. The interior of her home is also full of ruined belongings and is already developing black mold.

The home Kellum built 10 years ago is now destroyed. Nearly six feet of water was inside the home when Kellum and her 19-year-old daughter, Tiffany, came back in the early afternoon of March 10 to try to retrieve some photos. “Tiffany is a Red Cross certified swimmer,” said Kellum. Kellum and Tiffany waded through the waist- to chest-high water to reach the home, “I managed to open the door and all of the water and things in the home started to pour out,” said Kellum. “Tiffany told me to get on her back and she swam us back to the boat.”

Kellum, her four children and husband are safe and staying at her in-laws. The family visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center at Trout Creek Baptist Church in Kirbyville recently to begin the road to recovery. “The Red Cross provided us with help. They connected us with Goodwill, The Salvation Army and provided us with assistance to move forward.”

Having the Red Cross and other organizations there to help has been a comfort for Kellum. “It’s really great to know that we have somebody here. At least we have hope.”

Standing in the yard of her home a little more than two weeks after the flood was hard for

Kellum. “I don’t like looking at it. I know it’s a total loss. I want to dig a hole and let it fall in.”

Still, Kellum is looking toward the future, “If I can get substantial help, I’m not coming back. I can’t do this again. I am hopeful I won’t be back out here.”

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