Evening flooding leads to rescues
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 03, 2013 | 1213 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police officers and members of Cleveland Fire Department are credited with saving the lives of two people early this morning after they entered the flooded waters of Mouse Creek.

According to 911 reports and Evie West, information officer for the Cleveland Police Department, emergency calls for help were received shortly after 5 a.m.

Officers Mike Harris and Jake Varnell entered the swirling water on the Greenway just behind Cleveland High School.

Three people believed to be in their teens or early 20s had decided to go tubing.

One of the victims got out of the water but the two others became trapped.

Harris and Varnell got into the water to aid the two, according to West.

“According to one of the CFD rescuers, if Harris and Varnell hadn’t entered the swift current, the incident would have been a recovery and not a rescue,” West said.

West said minutes counted as officers worked to reach the two men.

CFD personnel arrived on the scene and within 16 minutes, all three had been retrieved from the water.

One of the victims, a 29 year-old man, was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

CFD also worked to free a man from a car which entered floodwaters under the Inman Street overpass.

A call to 911 came in just after 2 a.m.

The driver and reports indicated he was stuck in water up to his torso.

911 dispatchers kept the man calm as CFD officials were en route.

Just minutes later, rescue personnel arrived on the scene where they reported the vehicle was 60 percent submerged.

The man was removed from the car safely. Reports of businesses being flooded in the Inman Street area were passed along to 911 from fire department officials.

Tuesday afternoon, Anthony Cavallucci of the Morristown National Weather Service Office issued a statement warning about impending flooding conditions due to heavy rains expected over the next few days.

In his summary, Cavallucci said July Fourth activities will be severely hampered. Campers near creeks and streams need to be aware of the dangers of floodwaters. Travelers need to be aware of flooded roadways. Rivers and streams will rise and probably remain high through the weekend.

A flash flood watch has already been issued through Friday night, according to Cavallucci.

Cavallucci said the reason for all of the rain exists with an upper flow which will allow “copious amounts of low level moisture to infiltrate the area.”

Imbedded thunderstorms are expected with the rainfall event.

Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency as well as all other emergency response agencies are monitoring this weather event which could bring up to 6 inches of rainfall over the next three days.

CFD Chief Steve Haun said this morning his firefighters helped save the lives of the individuals who entered Mouse Creek.

“Please don’t get into situations which can present danger to yourself or others,” Haun said.

“Drop-offs, stumps, strainers (tree limbs) and other obstacles are under water, and can’t be seen. Flooding is a serious weather condition. We want everyone to be safe and use common sense when events such as flooding occur,” Haun added.

“With the upcoming rains we expect more flooding and water across roadways. Please do not attempt to enter fast-moving water for any reason! Do not drive through water across the road. If you do get stalled in water, call for help. Do not attempt to get out of your vehicle. Take these tips seriously, as they can save your life,” said Stan Clark of BCEMS.