Marysville Division of Fire’s swift water rescue unit was in Newark on Friday. The area was hit with heavy flooding. The team and others were part of more than 50 rescues, including the rescue of a homeless man who climbed into a tree to avoid being swept way. (Photo submitted)
“God puts the right people in the right place,” said David Decker, assistant fire chief for the Newark Fire Department.
On Friday, some of the right people were from Marysville.
“Overnight and into the day (Friday) we received some substantial flooding to say the least,” Decker said. “We have inundated our water rescue options here in the county.”
He said local fire departments began contacting other fire departments with water rescue capabilities. Marysville’s swift water rescue team was sent to the area.
“They were assigned to an area called Little Texas,” Decker said, explaining that a railroad bed in the area created a hazardous material potential.
The fire chief said railroad workers contacted the fire department after hearing calls for help. Decker said he is familiar with the area because he played there as a child. He said officials could clearly hear someone calling for help, but couldn’t see anyone.
“He was too far away. Obviously, we didn’t know who this was,” Decker said.
He said that from the high ground of the railroad be to the tree line was “about 550 feet of all floodwater with a rapidly moving current.”
“There was no way we were going to be able to deploy anybody on foot or in a row boat,” Decker said.
He said the call went out for a swift water rescue team.
“Within two minutes or less, they were there and able to get down into that area,” Decker said.
He explained that once they were in the tree break they were able to find a man, holding onto a tree.
“That gentleman had been camped down there. That’s what he calls home,” Decker said. “He said he was clinging to that tree since before the sun came up.”
He added, “they were able to get to him, and they brought him up out of there. They pulled up and dropped that guy off and they were off again.”
The man was given medical attention. Decker said he learned the man checked into a homeless shelter.
“What I hear, he is doing great and was very grateful,” Decker explained. “To say he was fortunate was an understatement.”
He said he was impressed with the response of the Marysville team.
“They were extremely proficient and they did an outstanding job,” Decker said. “They were quick and they knew what they were doing.”
Marysville Fire Chief Jay Riley said he was glad to be able to send resources.
“We are just super proud that we were able to provide that to central Ohio,” Riley said. “It is great that if we ever had a need, we would have them right away.”
He said the Marysville team and other departments were able to help with more than 50 rescues Friday.
“That wasn’t the only miracle that happened that day,” Decker said, explaining that a baby nearly drowned, but a civilian who had learned CPR from a local paramedic was able to save the child. A police officer also had to call for help after his boat capsized.
“We had a lot going on that day, but is seems like all of it came out with a positive result,” Decker said.
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