A dog was among those rescued by firefighters from McKinney, Texas, on the morning of Oct. 26 after flash floods hit the area the previous evening. NBC News reported that the McKinney Fire Department (MFD) came to the aid of a dog and three people. At the time, the group had been trapped along the flooded banks of Wilson Creek for nearly eight hours.
According to the department’s spokesperson, Captain Joel Boyd, MFD, rushed to the scene after a call made to 911 by two concerned individuals. The women reported hearing cries for help coming from underneath the bridge along El Dorado Parkway while on their morning walk.
Relentless flash floods had drenched Texas over the past few days, causing rivers to swell and overflow their banks.
McKinney firefighters encounter major challenge during rescue operation
Upon receiving the distressing 911 report, the MFD Rescue Team quickly set off on a mission to free the trio and their canine trapped by the high water. Responders noted the group appeared relatively composed despite the raging waters reaching up to their knees.
“They were a little shaken up but relatively calm,” said Zack Costa, one of the responders.
Describing his first assessment of the scene, Costa recalled, “From where they were initially, they looked safe and stable.” Despite that, Costa — recognizing the urgency of the situation — discerned that firefighters “still…needed to work fast.”
After a quick analysis of the situation, the MFD responders realized that the roughly 200 yards of fast-moving water, coupled with the area’s uneven terrain, posed a great challenge in their rescue efforts. It was way too dangerous for them to wade through the raging waters to reach the trio and canine. Accordingly, they needed to switch to Plan B as quickly as possible.
The well-prepared team devised a plan to lift the stranded trio and their dog to safety using harnesses and ropes.
“We were able to rig up a system on our truck that we’ve practiced before and we were able to pull them up with the system we had,” explained Captain Boyd.
With harnesses and ropes attached to a system on their firetruck, Costa and a few of the rescuers descended down the flooded banks. They managed to grab and lift the stranded people and their pup to safety one by one.
According to Costa, the dog seemed rather agitated at first, reacting with snarls and growls. However, he eventually warmed up to the rescuers after watching them lift his companions to safe ground.
MFD’s sigh of relief after a successful operation
The rescued people and their accompanying pooch did not sustain any injuries amidst their gut-wrenching encounter with a natural disaster. Accordingly, Captain Boyd could not help but express his relief and satisfaction with the rescue’s positive outcome. “You can tell that the training with the guys paid off,” Boyd said. “I’m really happy with how it went.”
According to MFD, it’s likely that the three individuals had been camping with their dog under the bridge before the flash floods struck.
Commenting on the rescue efforts, Costa added, “It’s a good feeling to get them out of a terrible situation, make their day just a little bit better.”
As climate change intensifies, the number of flash floods will continue to increase across the country. Now more than ever, it’s important to familiarize yourself with flood preparedness and safety tips for dog owners. In so doing, you will know how to keep yourself and your canine companion safe in the event of a torrential downpour in your own community.