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Couple from Arizona loses everything in flash floods after moving to Tennessee

AZ family loses everything in flooding
Posted at 2:38 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 21:15:18-04

GILBERT, AZ — A couple from Arizona has lost everything from flash floods in Waverly, Tennessee where flooding has killed more than 20 people.

Devin Howell, born and raised in the Gilbert area, moved to Tennessee with his wife to be closer to her family in the Midwest. Over the weekend the couple and their two young daughters were trapped in floodwaters after rain inundated the area.

A fundraiser on social media that is being shared details the family’s story of survival, “The water got so high they had to break a hole in the ceiling to get to the roof to keep from drowning. They were stranded on that roof, that began to cave in, for three hours. They had no cell phone or any way of communicating with anyone! We are so thankful to God that they made it out safely.”

Kelli Howell tells ABC15 that eventually, a stranger heard their shouts for help, before rescuing the family.

“We can't sleep at night, we literally stay up, I know this sounds weird but when we close our eyes, we can like taste the dirt, I still can taste that water,” said Kelli.

The couple moved to Tennessee to be closer to Kelli’s family, and to work for the family business, which they say was a great opportunity for them.

Kelli said after living in their home for nearly five years, all they have is two laundry baskets of items — a lot of irreplaceable memories that were washed away.

However, the family is thankful they’re alive. "All this is replaceable, but our lives aren’t, I’m just glad we're okay, and we're alive,” she said.

An organizer of the fundraiser wrote how anything will help, “We are wanting to set up a way for people to donate in any way that they can. They are needing basically every. They were not able to save anything at all. If you are interested in helping please just leave a comment below!"

As for what’s next for the family, FEMA and the Red Cross were on-site on Tuesday to look at the flood damage.

AZ family loses everything in TN flooding

Photos and videos shared with ABC15 show the floodwaters moved their home off their foundation.

AZ family loses everything in flooding

A Tennessee organization has organized a fundraiser to help flooding victims. If you would like to help, you can visit their website.