2 Reported Dead in Texas Floods as Mattress Salesman Turns Showroom Into Shelter for Victims

Char Adams

Two people died this week as a result of dangerous flood waters in Texas due to Tropical Storm Imelda, which has brought record rainfall to Houston and left residents stranded in their homes and cars.

Tropical Storm Imelda began seriously plaguing parts of Texas this week and a preliminary total of 43.15 inches of rainfall has been measured in Jefferson County, making Imelda the seventh wettest tropical cyclone in the nation’s history, the National Weather Service reported. Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a disaster in 13 counties as a result of the storm.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced Hunter Morrison’s death on Thursday with a statement from the man’s family.

“Right now my family and I are going through one of the most horrific times in our lives with losing Hunter,” the family said. “He was trying to move his horse, got electrocuted, and drowned.”

Cars flooded in Houston on Sept. 19 | Thomas B. Shea/Getty

In Harris County, authorities found a man in a van submerged in water in an underpass, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and later died, authorities said.

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More than 900 flights into and out of Houston have been canceled due to the severe rainfall, and many areas have seen dozens of inches of rain, according to ABC News. Houston experienced record-breaking rainfall for the month of September, seeing more than nine inches, ABC reported. Crews rescued people from their homes and Imelda has prompted the evacuation of at least 1,000 residents, according to The Washington Post.

The current flooding is a reminder of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which brought “unprecedented” rainfall. At the time, one mattress store owner went above and beyond to help those impacted by Harvey. Now, he’s doing it again.

Gallery Furniture store open to Texas residents amid Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 | Mattress Mack/Twitter

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has opened his Gallery Furniture store amid Imelda. McIngvale and his staffers rescued people from stranded cars, parking lots and even their flooded homes, according to the Post. On Thursday he took in about 120 people, giving them warm clothes, food, drinks, and access to mattresses, couch beds, sofas and more.

“I can’t let me people drown. It’s so easy to open the doors and let them in,” he told the Post. “They’ve got pretty much all the creature comforts they need. We let them in and take care of them, just let them know that people care about them.”

McIngvale told KTRK that the store, at 6006 North Freeway, opened its doors to the public around 11:30 a.m.

“One of the best things about Houston is we come through these dark hours very well. I know it’s devastating when water is coming in their house, devastating when their cars are flooded,” he told the station. “We got through Harvey — we’ll get through this. Let’s keep our chins up, keep helping each other.”