Living with her grandfather in Whitesburg, Kentucky, Chloe is alone, with no one but her trusty companion Sandy, a dog she’s had since she was a toddler.
“There was water as far as I could see,” he told CNN. “I had a full-blown panic attack.”
But she was determined to get out safely and take her dog with her.
Chloe’s grandparents were separated from their granddaughter in a house a few feet away. They shouted at her and urged Chloe to stay inside until help arrived. But with little cell service and the 911 center, perhaps overwhelmed, not answering her calls, Chloe said she realized she had to get out to survive.
“My next thought was that we should swim to my uncle’s house,” where his family had taken refuge, he said. “I put Sandy in the water for a while to see if she could swim. But she couldn’t, so I picked her up and went in and waded through waist-deep water to try to find something she could float on. .”
After checking out other furniture, Chloe placed her dog in a plastic drawer from her closet to dry — then placed the drawer on a sofa cushion to keep her afloat.
“I finally had a plan that I believed might work,” he said. “I knew the dangers of trying to swim in deep and moving water, but I felt I had no choice.”
She swam through the cold water, pushing Sandy’s cushion in front of her, until she reached the flimsy roof of a nearby storage building; The only part of the structure not yet submerged.
There, the two sat for more than five hours before Chloe’s cousin rescued Dean and his dog with the help of a kayak. Nearby, Chloe’s family took shelter on the second floor of her uncle’s house and spoke to her after noticing her waiting for help.
When the teenager returned to her grandmother’s house, she was overcome with “relief that Sandy and I had survived the flood.”
“My heart goes out to all the others who have lost and suffered more than I did in this terrible disaster,” Chloe added.
In a Facebook post after the rescue, the teenager’s father, Terry Adams, called his daughter a “hero.”
“Today we lost everything,” he wrote. “All but the most important.”