Hurricane Irma floodwaters force evacuation of Kissimmee senior village

Hundreds of seniors taken from Good Samaritan Society Kissimmee Village

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Hundreds of residents at an assisted living facility at the Good Samaritan Society were rescued Tuesday after floodwaters from Hurricane Irma threatened their safety at the Kissimmee Village.

According to the Good Samaritan Society website, staff members started removing residents Monday night after floodwaters started rising. Ninety-seven residents were moved overnight and about 300 more were transported to safety Tuesday.

Officials estimate 800 people in total were evacuated over the last 48 hours.

"There are cars all the way up to their windows," said Maj. Kevin McGinley, of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. "For us to get in and for us to get around in that water, we don't know what's underneath it."

Osceola County emergency management crews said the culprit is Shingle Creek, which has reached an historic flood stage, and they said it's going to keep rising.

"I cried this morning," said Kellie Manes, whose house backs up to the creek on any normal day.

On Tuesday, the creek was swallowing her front yard.

"Me and my husband, we worked very hard for this, and it's our dream," she said. "We live in a beautiful home on the creek."

Manes and other neighbors wondered why the creek had reached such high levels, and they questioned whether the flood gates had been opened to let some of the storm runoff out.

News 6 learned from emergency management officials that water authority officials had opened the gates "as much as they could."

They told News 6 they were relying on water crews in South Florida to open their gates more, which would ripple up north and give relief to Shingle Creek.

They said they don't anticipate that happening immediately, since they're experiencing flood problems, and more storm runoff is expected to reach Kissimmee over the next few days.

They said more evacuations are expected.

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