Firefighter reflects on providing Hurricane Harvey relief

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Right now Wichita Falls first responders are still working in southeast Texas following Hurricane Harvey, but most are back serving their local communities.

Robert Wade is a Wichita Falls and Burkburnett firefighter. He spends most of his time responding to medical calls and structure fires.

When he was deployed to southeast Texas, it was a whole different experience.

"We actually passed a family that was on the side of the road that had their kid on a boat dock flotation device," Wade said. "It was pretty wild."

"It's a good experience to go down there, actually do it, and get your hands dirty," he added.

When his team arrived, they immediately felt the wrath of Harvey.

"You could actually see down to where the command post was going to be. The water started rising, so they shot that one out of the water and we went further down the road to Buc-ee's," Wade said. "We actually stayed the first night at Buc-ee's."

Shortly after they helped at a fire station.

"There was only one way into their actual fire station the first night we got there," Wade said. "And you could see people walking out of the neighborhoods to the main street carrying bags."

Wichita Falls Assistant Fire Chief, Donald Hughes, said the firefighters were working around the clock. One team responded to 242 calls in 24 hours.

"They were actually making up for calls that were three days old," Chief Hughes said. "The system had gotten that far behind as far as being able to get the calls to the rescuers."

He said another rescue team had to be saved from the flood water by a Blackhawk. But he said they were there to help and that's what they did.

"A little kid said we are going to be alright mom. Wichita Falls is here. There were comments like that made that kind of make you feel good," Chief Hughes said.

Wade said when they were driving down the flooded roads, all they could see were the tops of power lines. Chief Hughes said he is proud of Wade and everyone who responded to southeast Texas.

Copyright 2017 KAUZ News All Rights Reserved