HOUSTON – A South Florida native who now lives in Houston spoke to Local 10 News on Wednesday, saying that he is grateful that he and his family are doing OK after being rescued from the flood waters following Hurricane Harvey.
Frank Lujan's neighborhood in northwest Harris County, not far from downtown, still looked like a river on Wednesday.
He told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden that his family initially planned to wait out the hurricane at home, but they soon had no other option but to evacuate.
"Well, at first we weren’t going to evacuate," Lujan said. "We figured we were just going to hunker down, and then, within a matter of four or five hours, water was chest high in the street and we figured it was time to go."
Lujan said the experience has been emotional, but he has tried to keep his spirits high for his three children.
"It's really indescribable. It's really emotional," Lujan said. "We have a lot of friends and family who live in the neighborhood, and we kind of expected this to happen, but not to this magnitude. It's going to be a long time before things get back to normal."
Despite the destruction that Hurricane Harvey left behind, Lujan said he is just grateful that his loved ones are doing OK.
"To be honest with you, I'm in good spirits," Lujan said. "My family's good, my friends are good. We didn't lose anybody, and that’s the most important thing. Material things are replaceable."
Lujan lived in South Florida for 20 years before moving to Houston.
Lujan saw his home later on Wednesday for the first time since he left, as he traveled through his neighborhood by boat to help rescue others who were still stranded inside their homes, including his brother's pets.
As Lujan entered his neighborhood on the boat operated by two strangers who offered to help out, he began to get quiet while looking at the destruction.
"Yeah, this is pretty rough to see," he said.
Lujan, Seiden and the other two men on the boat helped take a stranded family to another relative's home in the neighborhood.
Lujan pulled out his cellphone to record what he saw as he got closer to his house.
"This is the first time I'm looking into my neighbor's yard. It may have gone up 2 or 3 feet," Lujan said.
The four men were unable to force open Lujan's front door because the water pressure was just too much.
They eventually headed back to dry land.
"I moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and my wife lost everything, so it has been particularly difficult for her to be going through this," Lujan said.