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Flooding in Orangeburg

Homes along the Edisto River on the Shillings Bridge Road have sustained heavy damage from flood waters.

Mary Bradford has lived in the Shillings Bridge Road area for about five decades.

Her fondness for location prompted Bradford to build a house on property near the Edisto River about 30 years ago.

On Sunday, her dream house became a potential nightmare as Bradford, along with her husband, Leroy, found themselves fleeing their home for higher ground as the river overflowed its banks. The river’s dark waters slowly crept up the driveway of the couple's residence.

"I have never experienced anything like this before," Bradford said. "They (law enforcement) said the water will go in my house."

The couple left the home around 6 p.m. Sunday to stay with family in Neeses.

"I have been real upset," Bradford said. "I got nothing out the house except for my two cats and the clothes on my back."

Leroy said it did not take long for the river to swallow up their property.

"The water just came over the bridge there on Shillings Bridge Road," Leroy said. "It was about 5 or 6 feet. It is going in the house now."

The flood waters also overwhelmed two of the couple's three vehicles. One was able to be salvaged before the floods came.

The Edisto River was at 13.55 feet Monday at 6 p.m. Its record level was 14.7 feet set back in 1928.

Leroy said both he and Mary came by the house Monday morning to see the situation.

"It just broke my heart," Mary said. "We built that house from scratch and we just put everything in it."

Mary said what particularly upsets her is that when she had the house built, she was informed flood insurance was not needed.

"Everything I own is in there," she said.

In the interim, Mary says she is hoping against hope that all will be well.

"I can't wait to see what it is like on the inside," she said. "They said the river is not supposed to crest until Wednesday. I hope they are wrong."

Livingston Landing resident Arnold Croft said he and all his neighbors on the street had to evacuate their homes Monday afternoon.

"It is terrible, terrible," he said. "My sister has been back there when (Hurricane) Hugo went through. It has never been this bad."

Croft said his house -- which is about 36 inches off the ground – has been spared water damage so far, but he is not sure what he will find when he returns home. He is currently staying with family on higher ground.

"I don't know if I am going to make it or not," he said.

His neighbor, however, has not been as fortunate. About 19 inches of water was in his house.

The water rose quickly, Croft said.

"It was a bad night," he said.

When Croft went to sleep, the dirt road in front of his house was easily accessible.

"When I woke up this morning, it was about 24 inches of water across the road,” he said.

Ed Braun, who lives on Riverside Drive in Orangeburg, had water in his backyard just feet from his back doorstep.

Outdoor chairs are visible over the water and the three-foot fence in his backyard is almost covered in some cases. His boat dock was completely under water.

"Nothing has ever come up in my yard before," he said. "I have never seen it this high. If it gets into my house, then I am going to leave."

As he saw the water creep closer, Braun said he never did get too alarmed.

"There is nothing I can do about it," he said. "I am not so much worried about the water right now as I am the trees."

Braun, who has lived in the house about 10 years, never had flood insurance on his house until earlier this year.

"I hope I don't have to use it," he said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.


Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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