FWC patrolling flooded areas in a swamp buggy

Residents refuse to evacuate keeping officers busy
Posted at 12:07 AM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 05:33:42-04

Children swimming in flood waters, families battling swift currents, and people trapped in their homes surrounded by rising waters are just a few of the things FWC officers saw on their patrols of a flooded Elfers neighborhood.

ABC Action News rode along with two Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers as they patrolled Elfers Parkway in a swamp buggy.  

“This was a road, it’s now a river,” Ofc. Kevin Balfour said.  Balfour started work at 5am this morning and finished up his 16 hour shift late Sunday afternoon.  

“Public safety that's our biggest thing if anyone needs help we give it to them,” Balfour said.  

Balfour helped a mom and dad with their two small children to safety after they were having a tough time pulling their boat through the swift current. Sunshine Juda said her phone and some other items got swept down stream and they were trying to find them. Balfour took them to their house and asked them to stay out of the swift current for their safety and their small children.

During our ride along the swamp buggy with four foot tires maneuvered the currents with ease, as we passed flooded cars and house after house on stilts with people sitting on their porches surrounded by water, no where to go.

“You OK?” Balfour yelled.  “Do you have a phone to call for help?” Balfour asked residents in their homes.

When we asked some residents why they weren’t leaving they said as long as their homes are livable and don't have water in them, they will ride out flood and wait for waters to recede.

“The only place for us to go is a shelter and as of right now our house is mainly the only house that is not flooded so right now we are trying to wait it out as long as we can,” Juda said.