by: Ken Lemon Updated:
SHELBY, N.C. - Shelby police saved a wheelchair-bound man trapped in a basement by flood waters Monday night.
Charles Cochran said he thought he might die Monday night if not for those officers.
Cochran said knew that it was raining outside, but he didn't know water building up right behind a door.
A wall of water poured into the basement of the Farmer's Market Condominiums, rushed down the hall, closed the door behind him. He wasn't strong enough to free himself.
“Everything is normal. Everything is dry. All of a sudden a puddle of water rolling towards me,” Cochran said.
It slammed the doors shut and he couldn't open them.
The force of the water shut the door to the unit trapping him inside.
It was impossible for the wheelchair bound man to open it. He said the puddle quickly became a wall of water and dumped more than a foot into his storage unit.
He took Channel 9 down the hall to his storage unit where he and his dog came last night.
"It was a little bit of water coming through the cracks. So it was shallow inside, deep outside, trapping me in -- slowly filling up," Cochran said.
Cochran grabbed his cellphone and called his son.
The teenager waded in the waist-deep water, but could not open the doors and rescue his dad.
Cochran called 911.
Officer Mark Chapman said it took extra time to drive around the flooded street.
Once he got into the basement he noticed electrical devices and cords.
He worried an electrical shock could flow through the basement if the water kept rising.
"I realized I was already in there and there wasn't no turning back,” Chapman said.
Chapman struggled to open the doors.
"When I saw him I was relieved,” Cochran said. "I was just grateful to get out of there."
Channel 9 spoke with the owner of the building. He said he going to install a drain at the door to help keep water out of the basement.