Waxahachie Fire Department Swift Water Rescue team rescues woman

Kenya Menjivar
Waxahachie Daily Light

As the rain poured in Waxahachie and flooded certain areas on Sunday, the Waxahachie Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team aided a woman in desperate need of saving. 

The woman's car had been washed off the road in flood waters on the I-35 service road. 

“Engine 3 did an awesome job at setting up our down stream safety net. They go down stream, set up some safety devices for our raft or if something were to go bad and the river stream takes us down stream, those guys did a wonderful job of setting up that system. At the actual scene, where we were, there was our Engine 2 crew and our truck crew. There were four swift water techs onsite,” said pump engineer Matt Rogers, who was on site during the rescue operation.

The WFR Swift Water Rescue team was created on Feb. 20 2020, as 12 men from the fire department took training and became certified. The team was created to aid in times of heavy rain and flooding. 

Flooding on FM 66 on Sunday.

Fire Chief Rick Boyd had certified men from Station 2 head out and take on the challenge on Sunday.

“I think this is the first incident where we fully utilized everything, as far as using the boat and those types of things. They’ve used their training in other situations before, but this is a full incident with all aspects of it,” Boyd said. “Twelve guys from Station 2. Something that the city funded last year. Two years ago we had several water rescues and we were relying on our HOA partners to come help us out — such as Red Oak and Lancaster. Anytime we’re utilizing them, there is a delay from them having to drive down here. Then when it’s flooding here, it’s usually also flooding there, so it would be a longer delay. We identified the need to have our own team and the city council agreed to that. It really paid off yesterday with the timing aspect." 

Rogers has been with the Waxahachie Fire Department for 14 years. 

“Yesterday went as perfect as it could’ve gone. It’s great to be able to utilize the skills the department has given us and actually be able to apply them in real-world scenarios. Especially being able to save a life that would not have probably made it,” Rogers said. 

Tips for street flooding 

In addition, Boyd and Rogers shared safety tips for residents to take into consideration if they are ever in a situation where flooding is involved.

The saying "Turn around, don't drown" needs to be taken literally, according to Rogers. 

“If there’s water over the road don’t go. The old saying of turn around and don’t drown, there are signs everywhere. Water is an unpredictable environment. The water was close to 6 inches while we were there," Rogers said. "It was still rising when we got there. We parked out vehicles and unloaded our swift water raft and set up our system. When we got back to the truck, the water was already touching our tires." 

“First and foremost, if you can’t see the driveway just don’t drive into it. If there’s water over the road, it’s amazing how much power that water has. Water weighs 8 pounds to the gallon. You can just imagine how many gallons is running through there every second or every minute. A regular car or even a pickup is not gonna withstand that kind of force," Boyd added. 

According to the National Weather, more showers and thunderstorms are possible this week, which could mean more street flooding in thea