Couple Talks About Being Trapped in ‘Terrifying’ Floods

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio--This week's severe flooding in Northeast Ohio has prompted officials in Summit County to declare a state of emergency. They hope the county will be eligible for state or federal aid to help impacted residents recover.

Meanwhile, one family that could use the help, described their harrowing story about how they lost their possessions, but not their lives.

"We're thinking about our family and if we can get some aid that would be wonderful. There's been loss. We didn't lose our lives," said Michael Hammonds.

Michael and Michaelann Hammonds of Cuyahoga Falls said state or federal aid would help them recover, after their home on Dwight Street was heavily damaged by flooding Monday night.

But right now, the Hammonds are just thankful to be alive. They were in the basement to retrieve pictures and valuables after they noticed water seeping into their home.

"We were not too far from the basement steps when the wall behind her just came at her, muddy water and bricks and stuff," said Michael Hammonds.

basementThey said about five seconds later, another basement wall broke. "And the water and all the stuff in the basement just went up about this fast, carrying us with it," Hammonds said.

"I was between the rafters and then the electrical cords, through the rafters in an unfinished basement, so I was kind of boxed," said Michaelann Hammonds.

Michaelann said she had about eight inches of breathing space. Michael said he was pinned by debris, underwater at times.

Their children, ages 9, 12, and 13 witnessed it from the top of the stairs. Their daughter understandably panicked. "She screamed a lot and there were some that heard her screams," she said.

Neighbors rushed over to help. Their 12-year-old son grabbed an axe, while other neighbors used saws to cut a hole in the floor from upstairs. They are grateful for their neighbors' help during and after their rescue.

"A lot of our neighbors chipped in by taking care of our children," the couple added.

Video taken at city hall shows how powerful the water was. Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters said he hopes the county qualifies for state or federal aid. The city had to throw out dozens of computers and other equipment, but the mayor said city hall is back up and running.

"We had widespread damage, the whole entire city. There weren't good areas and bad areas; they were all bad," said Mayor Walters.

He said anyone who has structural damage should contact the city.

Other Summit County residents impacted by the storm should contact their local city leaders as well. *CLICK HERE for phone numbers*

*Get more storm coverage here*