Swiftwater team conducted patrols, rescues utilizing various water craft
By Joe Reavis
Hours of training and practice paid off in spades for members of the Wylie Fire-Rescue Swiftwater Rescue Team who put their skills to use in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters along the Texas Gulf Coast.
The fire department sent five of its members and three watercraft as part of a 20-boat flotilla that composed Strike Team I in response to a call by Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. Heading up the strike team was Wylie Battalion Chief Brian Ritter, who is over special operations for the department.
Other swiftwater personnel were Capt. Katy Willoughby, who leads the WF-R team, Jimmy Johnston, Patrick Hewitt and Keith Jenkins. The department also dispatched Quint 143 with four firefighters, Capt. Brandon Gibson, Michael Towne, Jared Buckmeier and Tim Turquette, an ambulance was dispatched with paramedics John Hunt and William Sullivan, who were relieved by paramedics Eric Owens and Chad Lloyd, and its top two administrators, Chief Brent Parker and Assistant Chief Brandon Blythe.
Wylie Police department responded to the relief effort by sending Chief Anthony Henderson, Lt. Tommy Walters, Lt. Matt Miller and Sgt. David Larocca to the coast.