BROOKVILLE — A Brookville couple recalled their own scary experience during the flood, being one of the first people to call in the flooding to the Jefferson County 911 Center.
Brenda and Joe Spangler were sleeping in their home in Belgiumtown with their three children as the waters began to rise around them.
“I will never forget that day as long as I live,” Brenda Spangler said.
Joe Spangler woke up for work at 5 a.m. after it had been raining all night. When he looked out the window, lightning flashed, and he could see they were completely surrounded by water.
“It was a Friday, and I remember Thursday evening was beautiful and I mowed the grass. That night I heard it storming and didn’t think much of it,” he said. “I saw the lightning flash and thought ‘wow, that looks like water.’”
“He said to me, ‘get up we are getting flooded’ and he ran downstairs and called 911,” Brenda Spangler said.
Joe Spangler was the first one to report the flooding to 911. Meanwhile, his wife rushed to wake all three of their children. She remembers going downstairs to see water coming up through the registers in the kitchens and under the kitchen door.
She said they prayed the rain would quit, and it continued for three more hours. Their neighbors, the Slagles, were on higher ground so they decided to try to make it to their house.
“The back side of the house, the water wasn’t so deep back there. I crawled out a window and carried our daughter over there, then realized I couldn’t get anyone else over there,” Joe Spanger said. “The water was just so swift.”
He carried their 4-year-old through the three feet of water to the neighbors. Brenda Spangler recalled that her husband slipped and had to grab ahold of a small tree in the yard. He said he didn’t think he could get anyone else across, so they were separated from their daughter.
The family started trying to carry as much as they could up to the second floor, and watched through the window as their garage was swept under the bridge in Belgiumtown across from Shaffer Home Improvements.
People at the 911 center called back and said it was too dangerous to try a rescue so the family was stuck there waiting.
The garage and their car was washed away, and a Harley Davidson was ruined in the water.
“I cut the grass and ran a weedeater, and sat it on the floor of the garage next to the car. The flood took the garage, took the car, and that weedeater was still there. I still have it,” Joe Spangler said.
Brenda Spangler recalled the rain finally stopped around 8 a.m. and the family took the chance to get to the neighbors.
“Started dropping pretty rapidly. I’d say within an hour I was able to tie a rope from the house out to the mailbox, which was on higher ground. Everyone was able to ease themselves out and up to higher ground,” he said.
“We were finally all back together. We were so thankful for our neighbors, the Slagles, and to everyone who helped us in the coming days and weeks. Thankfully we didn’t lose our lives. I hope I never have to go through another flood,” Brenda Spangler said.