A woman in Fort Myers, Florida, tucked her 3-month-old baby in a plastic bin and swam through the flood waters to a neighbor’s house after ignoring her county’s evacuation orders.
Callie Brown, her partner, Chad Duckwall and her baby, Charlie, took refuge in the attic after Hurricane Ian ravaged her neighborhood Wednesday, WMTW 8 reported. As water filled the attic, Brown dumped Christmas decorations out of the bin and placed her son inside.
Duckwall then put her cat in another plastic bin. They then floated away in hopes of reaching their neighbor’s house, the outlet reported. Brown described their terror as they floated in the stream of 10 feet deep flooding waters.
“Terrifying. The most terrifying thing I’ve ever gone through my entire life,” Brown said of the wet, wild journey. “I didn’t know if we were going to make it to be totally honest. I remember looking at Chad and just saying, ‘I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die,'” she said.
Latest update on progress by our US&R Teams: as of this morning they’ve completed over 2,100 human interactions, which includes everything from providing aid, to evacuations, or providing lifesaving care. They’ve also conducted over 80,00 damage assessments. #HurricaneIan pic.twitter.com/h3ff4yzkzn
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 5, 2022
“We were in the eye wall of the hurricane at that time so there was 140, 150 mile per hour winds all around us, there was debris flying. Thankfully none of us were hit with any of it. He was such a little trooper he didn’t even cry,” Brown said. “Mom instincts just kicked in and I just knew (the plastic tote was) what I needed to grab to put him in for safety because he obviously can’t swim, he’s three months old.” (RELATED: DeSantis Responds To CNN Reporter Trying To Turn Evacuation Decisions Into Scandal)
The next day, they returned to their house to observe the damage, the outlet reported. Brown said their dining room table floated into the living room, while the couch was on the kitchen counter. The storm forced them to relocate to a family member’s condo until their house is repaired.
Brown said they regret not complying with the mandatory Hillsborough County evacuation order for Zone A. She explained that they evacuated during Hurricane Irma in 2017, despite no damage to their home, the outlet reported. She did not want to leave again “for no reason.”
“I will never stay again. I will absolutely evacuate I don’t care if it’s a category 1, I’m not staying ever again for a hurricane. I never want to experience that again,” Brown said.
The storm is classified as a Category 4 storm, reaching maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, according to the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service.