Hernando County firefighters save woman and dog from rapidly rising floodwaters

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — In Hernando County, the Withlacoochee River is on the rise and not expected to crest before Monday.

At Hernando Fire Rescue Station 8, Captain Marcus Zoph is loading up flat bottom boats and preparing for a water rescue.

“This is the first one we’ve actually had this storm, so hopefully it’s the last,” said Zoph.

Zoph, along with firefighters Michael Pastore and John Pearson, waded through chest-deep water to reach a woman stranded in her home by the rapidly rising water.

When they arrived, water was entering the home of retired nurse Marilyn McCauley.

“We started getting it Saturday night, right in the middle of the night, cause I slept right through it and then the water really started coming in on Tuesday,” said McCauley.

The firefighters rescued a grateful McCauley and her small dog.

“I thought I could tough it out,” said McCauley.

The Withlacoochee River is expected to rise another two feet by Monday.

Hernando County Emergency Services is asking anyone in a flood-prone area to voluntarily evacuate now so that first responders don’t have to put their lives at risk to save them.

“Our priority is life safety. We will get the occupants out and we will deal with the aftermath later,” said Captain Zoph.

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