Florida National Guard rescues Osceola residents trapped in homes by rising waters

Reserve at the Oaks neighborhood expected to rise at least 2 feet

Members of the Florida National Guard were rescuing people Saturday in Osceola County after high water levels trapped many in their homes. Residents in the Reserve at the Oaks neighborhood had to quickly pack as guardsmen utilized their tactical vehicles to transport people to safety.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Members of the Florida National Guard were rescuing people Saturday in Osceola County after high water levels trapped many in their homes.

Residents in the Reserve at the Oaks neighborhood had to quickly pack as guardsmen utilized their tactical vehicles to transport people to safety.

[TRENDING: Osceola County officials provide Ian update after voluntary evacuation issued in Shingle Creek area | Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties now eligible for FEMA assistance in Ian’s wake | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Osceola County officials provided an update Saturday on the ongoing evacuations and cleanup efforts underway since Hurricane Ian brought historic flooding through the area.

Osceola County officials said the water in the neighborhood is expected to rise at least two feet.

According to the National Weather Service, Shingle Creek particularly rose to 64 feet and is set to only fall to 62 feet by Monday.

The City of Kissimmee on Saturday issued a voluntary evacuation for Shingle Creek Reserve at The Oaks due to rising waters. On Twitter, officials called for people evacuating to cause no wake on the drive out, suggesting those who need help call 911.

“We did issue a voluntary evacuation for our residents to let them know, especially those that drive small cars, because they will not be able to get out and it could delay emergency services response if they are needed in the middle of the night,” said Austin Blake, the assistant city manager of Kissimmee.

The evacuation was canceled as of Monday.

News 6 was present as one family was rescued from their home.

“It was just so rapid,” said Gissella Sandoval, one of those rescued. “It was so fast that we just (packed) and we (left). I am just glad we are safe right now.”

Sandoval and her family are just one family of more than 250 people evacuating. She said this moment was hard for her family due to this being a time of transition.

First responders showed up to Good Samaritan to try to get as many residents out of the area as they could following the emergency evacuation zone declaration.

“We are moving back to Kissimmee. We came to visit my mom for a couple of days and we end up with all of this,” Sandoval said.

As the Florida National Guard continues to help people evacuate from the community, they have been warning people who choose to stay that their resources may be limited as electricity is set to be cut off in the area.

“I think in general we wish they would evaluate the best decision for their family and if they need assistance, now is the time,” Blake said.

According to Blake, a few people did go to shelters, but the majority went to family and friends. Sandoval suggested others living in low-lying areas in her community also consider evacuating if they haven’t already.

Flooding concerns throughout low-lying areas in Osceola County led to the mandatory evacuation of a retirement community in Kissimmee Village.

“If you need to evacuate, just make a decision and do it,” Sandoval said.

As for Blake, he said he is just grateful for all those who evacuated safely.

“We absolutely could have not done this mission in the time it was accomplished without the assistance. For that we are grateful,” Blake said.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.