'We take care of our own': Houstonians pull together to weather through Imelda

Adriana Navarro

Harvey heroes Gallery Furniture owner Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, rapper Trae Tha Truth and DJ Mr. Rogers have stepped up once again to help flood victims, this time from Imelda.

McIngvale had opened his furniture gallery to flood victims during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and Trae Tha Truth had formed the Relief Gang with DJ Mr. Rogers. The two musicians had driven around in a lifted truck, transporting people who otherwise couldn't get through the floodwaters. On Thursday, they found themselves back in the rhythm of performing rescues.

"I thought I'd never have to do this again in my lifetime, but here we are again and the city of Houston is responding like we always do. We take care of our own," McIngvale told KTRK ABC 13.

"It was reminiscent of Harvey, for sure," Mr. Rogers said.

In this photo provided by the Chambers County Sheriff's Office, floodwaters surround a home, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in Winnie, Texas. The area has experienced heavy flooding due to Tropical Depression Imelda. (Brian Hawthorne/Chambers County Sheriff's Office via AP)

As Imelda sparked fears of a second Harvey, the citizens of Houston stepped up and the stories began to circulate from a high school football player helping save a mother and her daughter from their car to two women pushing a car out of a flooded road.

The flooding had started on Tuesday night, but it had escalated into a full deluge by Thursday afternoon.

By Friday afternoon, the Harris County Sheriff's Office's dispatchers had fielded 1,125 total weather-related calls, 425 of which were high-water rescues.

"It was kinda unexpected of how serious it was going to be," Trae Tha Truth said.

Floodwaters had isolated neighborhoods had flooded, water had invaded homes and a large number of roads were nearly impassible. The fatality count grew to four by Friday afternoon.

A Harris County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene to help stranded residents who had been standing on their cars to avoid the floodwaters. (Twitter/@HCSOTexas)

One couple's midstorm grocery run turned into a fight for their lives when their car hit floodwaters. Robert Horne said his car had been floating, and the water seeping in had come up to his waist. Porter County firefighters rescued the couple seven hours after they had set out for groceries.

While the Harris County Sheriff's Office had responded to over 350 stranded vehicles, three women in Houston were warning another 100 drivers to turn around and not go through an inundated road.

Erika Maida took a video of Zoya Banks and Mia Maurice as the two waded into the water to push the car to dry ground in Houston, Texas. The floodwaters were rising, and Maida told Storyful nearly two to three feet of water had inundated the road.

"That's when we really noticed how deep it was and started yelling at people not to go [through the water]," Maida told Storyful.

Erika Maida, Zoya Banks and Mia Maurice warned cars from passing through a flooded street in Houston, Texas, on Thursday, Sept. 19. When a car got stuck, Banks and Maurice waded into the water to push the car to dry ground. (Storyful/Erika Maida)

A record amount of rain had fallen in Houston, the total inches of rainfall on Thursday reaching 9.21 inches.

In Aldine, Texas, Aldine High School football player Jayden Payne jumped into floodwaters to save a mother and her toddler when their car drove into a ditch.

"I hurried up, threw my jacket off, I threw my shirt off," Payne told the Houston Chronicle. "I ran over there across in front of all the cars. I didn't care if all the cars stopped or not because I was more worried about their safety than my safety."

With the help of two other men, Payne pulled the woman and her daughter out of the BMW SUV, fighting against a strong current.

"She was crying. She said 'You're my guardian angel,'" Payne told the news organization about the mother.

Volunteers rescued a horse trapped in mud in Splendora, Texas, on Thursday night. They spent about four hours digging the horse out, and the rescue was declared a success.

"We all work together. That's what Texans do. We pull together, and we get it done, and we came through Harvey, we'll certainly get through this," McIngvale said.