FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Captain Will Drewery, Smithfield VFD
SEPTEMBER 9, 2020
This morning at 0656 hours, the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the area of the 200-Blk of Great Springs Road in the Town of Smithfield for a report of a vehicle in a sink hole. While en route, Rescue 50 (Lt. C. Smith) with a crew of four was advised that the vehicle in question was actually in rising water due to a flash flood which had been created by a storm passing through the area. Water rescue assets were immediately requested and began to mobilize. Upon arriving on scene 507 (Capt. W. Drewery) was advised by the Smithfield Police Department that the vehicle in question was unoccupied.
As more assets from the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene information was relayed of another vehicle in rising water opposite of the original reported location. A zodiac was deployed to the location of this vehicle and one occupant was rescued by a Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department crew.
Chief Savage (501) arrived on scene and began coordinating a mutual aid response from the City of Suffolk for more water rescue assets. Once it was determined that no other vehicles were in rising water, water rescue assets began going from house to house to determine if any citizens required evacuation. A total of 10 individuals and one dog were evacuated by boat from houses on Great Springs Road. Main Street Baptist Church was opened as a temporary emergency shelter for these individuals until the Red Cross could arrive on scene. The individuals were transported to the shelter by assets from the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad.
As units were demobilizing from the call on Great Springs Road a subsequent call for another vehicle in high water was received on Scott's Factory Road. Units from the original call quickly cleared and responded in addition to personnel and apparatus that were on a stand by status at Station 50. Engine 51 (FF G. Sellers) and Truck 50 (FF A. Lester) arrived on scene to find an occupied pickup truck partially submerged with rapidly rising water. The incident was to be deemed a swift water rescue. Crews from the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, and Newport News Fire Department gained access to the vehicle using a shallow water crossing, technical rescue techniques, and zodiac boats.
All units returned to service at approximately 11:30.
Special thanks to the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Isle of Wight County Department of Emergency Services for providing EMS assets during both incidents, City of Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue and Newport News Fire Department for providing mutual aid water rescue assets, Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department for backfilling our station, Main Street Baptist Church for providing temporary sheltering for the rescued individuals, and the Western Tidewater Medical Reserve Corps for staffing the shelter.