PALESTINE, Texas – A 64-year-old woman and four grandchildren were killed early Saturday after a creek overflowed its banks, flooding an East Texas neighborhood as many residents slept.
Capt. James Muniz of the Palestine Police Department told The Associated Press that six to 10 homes in a Palestine cul-de-sac were severely damaged following heavy rainfall over the course of just a few minutes after midnight. All other residents of the cul-de-sac were accounted for, he said.
City crews found the five bodies – including the four children, all younger than 9 – near one of the homes before dawn after the floodwaters had receded.
“The water came down the hill,” Muniz said.
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“The street was full of mud, so the water just came up. With the enormous amount of rain we had, we had people tell us that within minutes, the water was waist deep.”
City officials used a dump truck to rescue one man from the roof of a home, Muniz said.
One neighbor told authorities that he saw the family but lost sight of them as he waded through waist-deep water.