‘I am one lucky girl:’ Woman recounts being stuck alone in home that floated away

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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Ginger Buchanan said she and her husband were following flooding protocols by moving their cars up to higher ground on Saturday morning.

“I just yelled at him to go, and I yelled at him and said, ‘Sean, go.’ And I just went inside with the dogs,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said she’s had some flooding in their yard before in the decades she’s lived in Waverly, but she never anticipated it would pour into her home.

“The toilet exploded off the base for where I guess the house came up on its foundation and I knew then that it came up,” Buchanan said.

But Buchanan never felt her home moving as overwhelming noises filled her ears.

“It was so loud. It was the loudest, scariest thing, the popping, and the banging. I didn’t know if the roof was going to come down,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan and her two dogs were alone in the back bedroom on a mattress when the flooding took over. They all floated up on a mattress to the ceiling hanging onto the fan.

Luckily, she said there was cell service for the majority, so she was able to call her loved ones to let them know where she was.

“I had people coming for me. And I am one lucky girl,” Buchanan said.

But she was fearful that she wouldn’t make it out of her home alive by the time rescue crews could get to her.

“So, I had to call my mom. And I had to call my daughter, she was in Chattanooga. And I talked to my brother. I told my daughter, I said, I don’t know if I’m getting out of this, but I’m not giving up. And it was like that dreaded moment where I didn’t want to go there, but I had to. You had to make that call. It was awful,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said she feels awful for the families that lost loved ones. And thinks it could have been avoided.

“We would’ve been flooded for sure, but nobody had to die,” Buchanan said.

She blames some infrastructure needs that could have prevented the severity.

“Drainage problems. Bridge problems. Things that had never been taken care of. That’s my feeling,” Buchanan said.

But Waverly Police Chief Grant Gillespie blames mother nature’s wrath for the impact and the unfortunate outcomes.

“As we said yesterday, I hate to use the term the perfect storm because that may not be good terminology right now, but it did create that horrible mix,” Gillespie said.

Buchanan said she’s considering small victories of finding valued family treasures a major win. And an even bigger one will be reuniting with her daughter who returns home from college for a big hug on Friday.

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