After losing four homes to four separate hurricanes, Melanie Martinez knew to pack out when Isaac began barreling through her hometown of Braithwaite, La. But the lifelong resident’s truck broke down, leaving her and her family stranded, fighting for their lives and witnessing the destruction of their fifth house.
When Braithwaite was ordered to evacuate on Monday, Martinez tried fleeing with her husband and 74-year-old mother who relies on dialysis, the Guardian reports. But when the family’s vehicle wouldn’t start, the three raced to the attic for refuge, which was quickly flooded with water.
“We thought we were going to die in that house; the water was coming up so fast,” Martinez told the news outlet. “My husband used a hammer to put a hole in the roof but it broke. We used our hands and feet to punch the hole."
Click through the slideshow to see photos of the wreckage the Martinez family faces.Story continues below
A concerned neighbor was able to break into the attic and save the three victims, Getty photographer Mario Tama reports. But the house -- which the A&E Channel recently remodeled with a $20,000 makeover -- simply couldn’t withstand the storm that has claimed at least seven lives, caused more than $2 billion in damage and left 125,000 people without power six days after it hit, according to Getty.
The mother of three, who has now lost her beloved abodes to Hurricanes Katrina, Betsy, Juan, George, Martinez -- and now Isaac -- told the Huffington Post that everything was destroyed by the most recent storm. She, and six family members, are now living in a one-bedroom apartment.
Yet, despite her heartbreaking losses, the school bus driver remains hopeful. She doesn't see herself as the "unluckiest" person out there and is even considering remaining in the only place she's ever called home.
"I been born and raised there," Martinez told the Huffington Post. "It's hard to leave. We got friends and family."
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