A North Carolina mother trapped in her flooded house when tropical storm Florence hit the state Thursday night described the pain of listening to her neighbors screaming for help but unable to do anything.
Annazette Riley-Cromartie, who lives in James City, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that her family decided not to evacuate because Florence had lost some of her strength and was degraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.
Riley-Cromartie told Cooper around 11 pm Thursday that she and her husband noticed that the water was beginning to enter their home. She said it started slowly, but the water kept rising.
Riley-Cromartie, her husband and the three children in her house were forced to seek refuge in the attic.
Eventually, Riley-Cromartie said he brought the children to a room on the second floor and put them on a bunk so they could get some sleep. It was then that she and her husband heard some of their neighbors screaming for help.
A woman with the Civil Crisis Response Team is seen taking Annazette's seven-year-old daughter Riley-Cromartie to safety
The family was rescued Friday morning after being trapped in their house flooded James City, North Carolina, for hours.
The other two children are seen being rescued by a volunteer rescue team in James City on Friday
Annazette Riley-Cromartie (pictured left and right with her husband) said they heard neighbors screaming for help but could not do anything due to the rising waters
"My husband kept hearing people shout for help and tried to get out," he told Cooper.
The rising waters, however, proved too dangerous and Riley-Cromartie said her husband, who is six feet two inches tall, had to return because the water was on his chest.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to hear people shout for help and nothing can be done," she said excitedly.
Riley-Cromartie said he called 911, but rescuers could not reach them until early Friday when a volunteer rescue team from Indiana was sent to James City.
A photo of Amber Hersel, a member of the Civilian Crisis Response Team, went viral after he saw her take Keiyana Cromartie, seven years old, from Riley-Cromartie to safety.
Hersel told Cooper that the family was fine, but a little "shocked."
Annazette Riley-Cromartie posted photos on her Facebook page of her house flooded while waiting for help
A photo showed their cars almost submerged in the water when Florence hit the state with rain and strong winds
After rescuing the children, the rescue team returned and helped Riley-Cromartie and her husband out of the flooded house.
Hersel said she had volunteered as a savior in the past, but never because of a hurricane.
& # 39; It's a little intimidating. I really enjoyed helping where I can, "he said." At the beginning, when you see the weather, you're like "What the hell did I get into?" But when you see the families you're helping, you know it's all worth it. "
Riley-Cromartie said she is more than grateful for the rescue team.
"It takes a special person to leave their own home and their own family to come and help us," he said.
According to the New York Times, more than 360 people were rescued in the nearby city of New Bern since Thursday night. On Friday night, 140 additional people needed help.
Authorities said the last death toll, as of Saturday morning, was seven people in North Carolina. Pictured is a destroyed gas station near the coast in North Carolina
Florence was degraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but it has wreaked havoc in the state. In the photo, a damaged house in Wilmington
Authorities said seven people were killed by the massive storm. The first death attributed to Florence was in Pender County, North Carolina. A mother and baby were also killed in Wilmington when a tree fell in their home, ABC News reports.
Another person, a 78-year-old man in Kinston, was killed when he tried to connect extension cords out in the rain, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.
A 77-year-old man in Kinston also died. Dail said that the body of the man was found in his residence by his relatives and it is believed that he was shot down when he went out to see his hunting dogs.
Two more people were confirmed dead on Saturday at Harkers Island. Officials have not published details about those deaths.