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HOUSTON – A Houston businessman known as “Mattress Mack” opened his massive furniture store to victims affected by severe flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda.
Jim McIngvale, 68, posted a Facebook live Thursday night, offering free shelter at his Gallery Furniture store. He also provided his personal cellphone number in case people needed to be picked up or rescued.
“Galley Furniture is mobilizing GF trucks right now to pick up stranded Houstonians. God bless, stay safe and stay dry,” his post said.
McIngvale said the shelter is open 24 hours and that some people were already staying at the store.
“We’ve got food, water, we’ve got mattresses. We’ve got everything you need to ride out this storm. We pray that it ends quickly, but until then Galley Furniture North Freeway is open to any and everybody – and to your pets,” he said.
About 120 people came into his store Thursday, according to the Washington Post. Many of those who came in were rescued by salespeople in his furniture trucks.
The victims were given warm clothes, along with a Galley Furniture sweatshirt, and food and drinks from the in-store restaurant, the Post reported.
People slept on mattresses, sofas, sofa beds and watched television on the sets around his showroom.
Imelda has soaked the Houston area, leaving at least two people dead and prompting hundreds of rescues for people trapped during a relentless downpour that drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
When Harvey struck the area, it left much of Houston severely flooded. McIngvale opened his doors for flood victims then and his trucks rescued hundreds of people who were left stranded in their homes or outside.
McIngvale first started offering his store as a shelter to flood victims in 2005 following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, according to the Post.
In June, McIngvale suffered a “stroke scare” after he felt tingling in his arm, face and leg. He was eventually released from the hospital and went right back to work.
According to the Post, he received about 3,500 text messages and calls from community members who wished him a speedy recovery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.