Swift water rescue experts from Seminole, Shawnee, Guthrie, and Tecumseh Fire Departments are lending a hand in the aftermath of Harvey. Each department sent firefighters and boats to College Station, Texas, where they'll get their assignment.
“Texas is at our backdoor,” said Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams. "There are times when we’re at each other’s throats during football season but we’re really there to help, regardless."
Back in 2015, when record rainfall hit central Oklahoma, Tecumseh fire crews didn't have a boat and couldn't reach an 80-year-old woman in need of rescue. She'd tried driving through high water.
“And when she did,” Chief Williams explained, "her car was swept off the road and unfortunately perished."
Local churches and community members raised money to buy that crucial piece of equipment.
“It’s a 14-foot inflatable boat,” said Chief Williams, "specifically made for swift water conditions."
And now, that boat is across state lines.
“It’ll be the first time it’s launched for an actual rescue,” said Chief Williams.
It’s one of several boats and more than a dozen firefighters making up this group, responding to the call for help as catastrophic flooding cripples parts of east Texas.