Tuesday, August 21, 2007


When the heavy rains flooded southern Ohio overnight last night and early this morning the call for help went out statewide, one of the calls came right here to Lorain County.

Recently the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association developed a Statewide Mutual Aid Plan for when large-scale incidents occur, such as a major flood. Avon Fire Chief Frank Root is Lorain County’s contact for the Statewide Mutual Aid Plan; he received a call this morning just after 10 for Swift Water Rescue Personnel to assist Shelby Ohio in rescuing people trapped by the flood waters. The town of Shelby received 6 inches of rain in just 4 hours causing widespread flooding. Many roads were blocked after being deemed impassable, trucks and cars were stranded in high water after stalling out. The high school football field was completely submerged and for the first time in Shelby history, postal workers were unable to perform their duties.

Chief Root contacted Elyria Fire Department Captain Joe Pronesti to discuss who they would be sending and where they would be leaving from. It was determined that the Elyria Fire Station on Cedar Street would be the staging area and that the team would meet and respond from there.

Captain Pronesti said that 7 Elyria Firefighters who have received the highest training in Swift Water Rescue, that of Technician, along with two Firefighters from Avon were assembled this morning and sent to the small town in Richmond County. “Nine guys took two boats and all the necessary equipment down there to aid in the rescue efforts. They were able to help pull families from their homes and get them to safety.” Captain Pronesti said the families included small children, one as young as two months old.

Wellington Fire District has Firefighters trained in Swift Water Rescue but they stayed behind in case something happened here in Lorain County.


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