Couple trying to stay as Withlacoochee River rises

Residents are not sure if they should evacuate after the Withlacooche has started to flood

DADE CITY, Fla. - Many people who live along the Withlacoochee River are unable to access to their homes or get out. With the river cresting Wednesday, the water levels have flooded roadways and neighborhoods. All people can do now is wait for the water to recede.

10 News spoke with residents that have been wrestling with the decision to evacuate.

"Oh, it's been awful. Honey, I bathed on the back porch," Dorothy Gagliardi said.

10 News first spoke with Dorothy on Monday. With no running water, she and her roommate Martin have been trying to conserve.

"I haven't washed my hair. I'm gonna let the world know -- I put cream in my hair every day so it smells good," Dorothy said.

When Hurricane Irma battered Florida's coast, a tree fell on Dorothy's trailer, damaging the roof and causing extensive water damage.

"A piece went down and went in, and the water's gone all the way through the trailer to the middle of the trailer. The middle room is just soaked-- you can't even go in there and smell it," she said.

They chose not to evacuate -- afraid of looters.

"There's nothing else we can do so we just sit here and sit it out. I'm hoping FEMA will come out sooner or later," Dorothy said.

Three days later, 10 News went back to check on Dorothy and Martin, but couldn't get to them. The waters rose -- blocking the street that leads to their house. So we called them to see how they're doing.

"I've cried myself out. I have no more tears left," Dorothy said.

Dorothy has Parkinson's and uses a breathing machine for her asthma. Martin is a disabled veteran who has diabetes.

With mold growing in their home Dorothy is worried they'll get sicker.

"Martin at his age? It's not good for anybody to breathe that in," she said.

10 News offered to call the sheriff's office to rescue them, but they refused to leave -- struggling with the idea of leaving behind the little that they have.

"We're afraid that someone's gonna come steal what we have. Martin wouldn't leave because he's worked all his life to have what he's got here," Dorothy said.

Not knowing what will happen to their house, and uncertain if they'll get any assistance from FEMA, they've decided to stay put and wait, while hoping for the best.

For anyone who is trapped and in need of assistance, authorities are standing by with boats to rescue people and take them to a nearby shelter.

We'll keep you posted on what happens to Dorothy and Martin.

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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