I am a Houston firefighter stationed at Station 46 on the southeast side of downtown Houston. On my way to the station on Aug. 27 at 5:30am my route was cut short as water overflowed over a major freeway. I had to turn it around, along with the rest of my shift coming in from different parts of the city. It took me 4 hours to get back home.
One hour after being home to check on things with my wife, I was officially stuck home. I could walk away from home, but not drive. It was knee deep around my condo. I went out to the main road (Wilcrest) to check on the conditions and boats were dropping in on the street to head down and pick up evacuees from the apartments closer to the bayou. I jumped on a civilian’s boat and helped out. I ran into Engine 57 and jumped on with them. Shortly after we had a witnessed cardiac arrest on a john-boat and had to lift him onto the pontoon boat that we were on and do CPR, ride to a docking stage on the north side of the bayou and transfer him to a medic unit. I drove that medic to the hospital and got dropped off at the same spot. A TX Task Force boat took me across the bayou and down the street back to my condos.
The rain came hard and long that day and night, but spared coming in the house by centimeters. The next day the water went down a little, the sun came out, and… the flood gates opened. That night it came in fast. We went to bed with 12″ in the first floor, when we woke up there was 14.5″. We decided to jump on a boat that afternoon and were not able to return for 8 days due to water and Mandatory Evacuation. The water peaked at 19″.
The amount of support was overwhelming from my Local 341 Professional Firefighter’s Union, the national Union, a number of peers, Baltimore FD members, San Angelo, TX union members and recently a generous donation from Paul Faust in coordination with Houston firefighter David Hinojosa.
A huge embarrassment on part of City/County management, and a huge outpouring of generosity, love, and support on part of the citizens of Houston and America.
Story by: Scott Nichols