Family rescues disabled grandmother from flooded home in Lakeland

Sandy Piper, 63, couldn't escape flood waters
Posted at 11:21 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 23:21:19-04

A Polk County grandmother is recovering from a brush with death during Hurricane Irma.

Flood waters rushed inside the family's Lakeland house, leaving the 63-year-old trapped for several hours Monday. 

Family pictures show Sandra Piper trudging through waist-high flood waters with her walker on Timberlake Road South.   

Family members and a group of nearby church members helped her to dry ground, where she was rushed to the hospital.

"Her blood pressure was extremely high," her daughter, Allyson Pereira, told ABC Action News. "They said that it was so high that she was on the verge of having a stroke." 

The Pereira's house in northwest Lakeland took on several feet of water Monday. Pictures show that every room was a complete wash out. 

"I just never imagined in a million years that this was going to happen," said Antonio Pereira. "That type of flood water never crossed my mind. I was just baffled." 

Antonio Pereira stayed back with his mother-in-law, who is disabled, to ride out the storm. Allyson and their three children went to their church for shelter. 

"As the waters got higher it came up to the levels that the couch was and that's what I was sleeping and I slept with my back in the water all night," said Pereira. 

The family has spent this week pulling nearly all of their possessions out of the flooded house. They've filled a trailer five times over with things they have to now throw away. 

"We're going to replace those things," said Antonio. "Everybody's together, family's together, that's all that matters."

Shelby was released from the hospital Wednesday and is now staying with family in Plant City. 

If you'd like to help the family, visit their GoFundMe page.