More than 100 people found refuge Sunday at Crowder Funeral Home, 851 FM 517, in Dickinson, watching water creep closer to the building.
The isolated group of adults, children and pets, some of whom traveled by pontoon boat to escape their flooded neighborhood, had landed at the funeral home, which was open and dry and welcomed them in.
By 12:45 p.m., though, water was getting closer to the building, and the stranded residents called 911.
But emergency responders were not only swamped with calls, they were swamped in streets and blocked by the overflowing beast of Dickinson Bayou that had put 3 feet of water on Interstate 45 just south of Highway 646.
The Dickinson Office of Emergency Management told everyone to stay put and not leave because most roads in Dickinson were underwater.
Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department conducted several high-water rescues of people in flooded or submerged vehicles Sunday.
Water rose rapidly on Old Bayou Drive in Dickinson, residents said.
“We are stranded upstairs,” Concetta Maceo told The Daily News early Sunday morning. “We have two children and five adults.”
The water was halfway up the stairs by 8 a.m. and rising, Maceo said.
She called 911 and was waiting for a response hours later.
“Nobody realized; nobody really planned to evacuate,” Maceo said.
The streets started flooding in her Bayou Chantilly neighborhood about 11 p.m. Saturday.
“At 2 a.m., water started coming in my house, and it’s the highest house in the neighborhood,” Maceo said.
When the water reached about 18 inches deep, she left her house and crossed the street to a neighbor’s house.
“The water was up to my shoulders when I crossed the street,” Maceo said.
It’s the kind of scenario emergency management professionals urged residents to avoid.
“We are asking if anyone has a boat who can help us,” Maceo said Sunday morning.
They found a boat, got it working and rode it to the entrance of the neighborhood and found Lighthouse Baptist Church, 4105 Interstate 45.
The small group met up with more people at this beacon, adding up to about 30 people, including children and older residents. Pets were there, too.
Maceo waited at that spot until about 1 p.m. Sunday when her brother picked her up.
“We are going to stay with my brother until we figure out everything,” Maceo said.