Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Putnam Rescue Squad Has Busy Day

Brandon Smith of the Putnam County Rescue Squad says Wednesday was a very busy day for volunteers -- especially those involved in the swift water rescue team. He says the Cookeville Water Treatment Plant, which keeps rainfall records for the city had recorded 8.5 inches of rain by noon. And more fell throughout the afternoon and evening. Smith also provided the following information:

Damage Estimates:
*Widespread flooding throughout Cookeville and the western areas of Putnam County near Baxter.
*Home flooded off of its foundation (2530 Dyer Long Road)
*State Highway 70 was closed, for a short period of time, to traffic in the Echo Valley area (between Cookeville and Baxter) due to flash flooding.
*State Highway 290(Gainesboro Grade) was closed for flash flooding temporarily at intersection of Shipley Road.
*A Bridge washed out on Pippin Road near Water Mill Road. (The picture above from the Cookeville Weather Guy website shows the damage there.)
*A natural gas main ruptured under flood water at Timber Trail off Dodson Branch Road.
*A train hauling large quantities of sand was derailed on Fisk Road near Cookeville High School when it is reported that the tracks were washed away beneath the train. No injuries were sustained in that incident.

Smith says the Putnam County 911 Center got its first call for help at 8:13am Wednesday, and the Putnam County Swiftwater Rescue team became inundated with rescue requests and immediately requested activation of the Tennessee Assosciation of Rescue Squads’ State Swiftwater Rescue Team, which responded with swiftwater resources to Putnam County from Smith County, Wilson County, Rutherford County, Cumberland County, Jackson County, and Smyrna. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also responded with air support from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to help survey damaged areas and spot stranded victims. TEMA also sent a representative to the Putnam County Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate resources.

Smith says a total of 16 calls for water rescues were answered in Putnam County, including some inside the city of Cookeville. Eight of those required swiftwater teams to enter the water and bring victims to dry land. And several of these rescues were from stranded vehicles that drove or were pushed into moving flood waters. One victim was rescued from a Dyer Long Road residence that was moved from its foundation by the fast-moving flood waters. And several people were rescued from an apartment complex on West 17th street in Cookeville and taken to safety at a nearby shelter that was opened for flood victims.