Two Arlington mothers and their children had a terrifying morning after their cars were swept away by rushing creek water covering Webb Ferrell Road on their way to school Friday.
After a night of rain, water covered the street just before sunup. What the Hensons thought was nothing more than a puddle turned out to be water so deep, it submerged their Mercedes and swept the car down the creek.
"I had volleyball practice, and we were driving and thought it was just a puddle. It took off with the car," said Alexa Henson, 14.
Tina Henson and her daughter tried to scramble out of the car to safety and ended up clinging to trees, holding on for their lives.
"We hung on to the trees on top of the car," Alexa Henson said.
They tried to call for help, but their waterlogged phone wouldn't put the call through, she said.
And then the same thing happened to another car, and another mother and her 16-year-old daughter were stranded in the rapidly rising water.
Firefighters said they climbed on top of their car and reached the nearby Arlington Fire Department rescue team.
"We extended the ladder out to the rescuers to get the two off the car with a ladder truck," Lt. Kevin Seeton said. "We put rescuers in the water with flotation devices and went around and rescued the two young ladies hanging onto the tree."
Paramedics checked out the mother-daughter duos, and everyone was fine.
An hour after Willis Henson thought his daughter was at practice, he got a call to come pick up his shaken and stranded wife and daughter.
"It's real scary," he said. "I'm just glad they got out of there OK. I'm not worried about the car. The water went down, but her car is like 20 feet down the creek. They'll see if they can pull it out with a wrecker and take it to the impound."
The Arlington Fire Department gets recertified on Swift Water Rescues every year. Seeton said the department just completed the training last week.
The National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flooding warning earlier in the morning, alerting drivers to the possibility of high water on the roadways.
Drivers are encouraged to observe the warning, "Turn Around, Don't Drown," when seeing water on the roadway.
"Don't test it," Seeton said. "If you see some water over the roadway, find another route. I hate for this to happen to anyone else."