Ala. firefighters search for flash flood victims, revive woman
Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service crewmembers have made at least 16 water rescues
By Carol Robinson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A child is dead in Marshall County, and a search is underway for two people who are believed to have been swept away in heavy floodwaters in Hoover Wednesday night.
The Marshall County coroner’s office tweeted early Thursday that a child died as a result of the flash flooding in Arab.
In Hoover, couple was in a vehicle when authorities say they came down a hill and around a curve and met with unexpected flooding in the 1100 block of Riverchase Parkway West.
A Hoover police officer was at that location blocking traffic, where first responders had just rescued another woman from her vehicle’s roof. Authorities described the water at that point as “raging.”
The vehicle hydroplaned and briefly landed on a guardrail, before flipping over the guardrail into the creek below. At least one witnesses told first responders they saw the vehicle float past their house and then sink in the lake.
“Search for the vehicle was continued throughout the night,’’ said Hoover Fire Battalion Chief Duane Prater. “Neither the vehicle nor occupants have been located at this point. The vehicle is presumed to be submerged. The Technical Rescue team and Dive team are on the scene at this time.”
Prater called the flooding “unprecedented” and said some of the areas that flooded Wednesday night have not flooded in 20 years.
Cities throughout Jefferson County saw what is believed to be some of the worst flash flooding in recent memory Wednesday night.
In Birmingham, police and firefighters did numerous water rescues throughout the city.
In one case, said BFRS Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo, a woman was rescued from her car by police officers but was unresponsive. The officers carried her to where firefighters were staging, and CPR was performed on her.
She was conscious when she was transported from the scene – 28th Street and 15th Avenue – and taken to the hospital. “I am pleased to inform you that because of all the heroic efforts of all our public safety personnel, this patient was fully revived, conscious and alert prior to her arrival at the hospital,’' Carrillo said.
“While the professionalism displayed by our public safety personnel is to be commended, it is underscored by the need to remind our citizens of the grave danger that they put themselves and our first responders in by trying to navigate flood waters,’' he said.
Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service made 16 water rescues during the weather event.
Pelham police did not report any injuries but said they were slammed by the flooding event. Here are the numbers released by Pelham early Thursday:
- 281 calls for service during the active flooding event
- 82 rescued from homes
- 15 to 20 rescued from vehicles
- 15 agencies assisted in the operation
- 107 emergency responders
- 16 boats staged and 12 were in the water at one point
In south Alabama near the Florida line, water covered streets in the flood-prone Escambia County towns of Brewton and East Brewton, inundating businesses in a shopping center with several feet of water.
As much as 3 feet of water was inside the community’s main grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, and two schools had to cancel classes, said Escambia Sheriff Heath Jackson.
“We’re hoping that the rain is going to stop so we can get some of this water ... out of here and we can start getting into these businesses that have taken on water to see what we can do to help them,” Jackson told WKRG-TV.
To the south, in Baldwin County, as much as 250,000 gallons of waste water overflowed from sewage systems along Mobile Bay, officials said.
More rain is in the forecast today for Alabama, including areas hard-hit by flash flooding on Wednesday and into the overnight hours.
A few school systems delayed opening or closed because of flooding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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