Flooding in Florence after Marion Reservoir releases water

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"We thought it was safe to go to sleep," says Florence resident Loretta Looney.

Loretta Looney woke up early Friday morning to flood waters rushing inside her home.

"The dog was paddling in the water, splashing in the water against the bed, trying to get out of it," says Looney.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers released water from the Marion County Reservoir. The Looney's were downstream in Florence, trapped.

"When that first person answered the phone, it was kind of a relief," says Looney.

Huge tire tracks from a fire truck still remain outside the house, where firefighters rescued Looney and her husband.She says once they were safe, her thoughts immediately raced to her horses.

"I need my horses to be alive," says Looney.

She was sure they'd drown, but her son spotted a nose. Pictures from Friday show him wading out in chest high water to lead the horses to safety. A silver lining for Looney, because otherwise, she's lost everything.

"I don't have anything. It's little realizations of the little things that you take for granted everyday that you don't have anymore."

The Corps of Engineers says the release had to happen.

"The downstream flooding would have been significantly worse if the release hadn't been there," says David Williams, with the Corps of Engineers.

Looney is relying on what she does have left, her family and her friends, who haven't left her side.

"I'm so thankful for my friends. They've been here everyday. Helping me."

Looney says she and her husband thought they were safe because they did not receive any warnings. In the past, they've word through the Army Corps of Engineers Facebook page, but this time, there were no posts regarding the water release. 

If you would like to donate to the family, you can do so here.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.


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