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Numerous Rescues From Submerged Vehicles Made

A heavy line of thunderstorms rolled into the Stamford area just before 5 pm today, at the peak of the rush-hour commute.  The storms caused extensive flooding in not only the usual flood-prone areas but in countless areas across the City of Stamford.

The Stamford 911 Center began receiving calls at 4:54, for people trapped in flooded cars at the intersection of East Main Street and Myrtle Avenue, underneath the Railroad underpass.  An Engine and Truck Company were immediately dispatched.  On arrival, of Engine 1 and Truck 1 found three cars under the railroad bridge, submerged up to the vehicle’s windows. Crews wearing Mustang Water Rescue Suits entered the flood waters and used pike poles and ropes to safely navigate their way to the submerged vehicles. Four victims were rescued and led to safety. The area was secured.

Shortly thereafter, Engine 4 was dispatched to the area of the Elm Street railroad overpass for the same thing.  On arrival, the Engine 4 crew found numerous cars continuing their attempt to pass through the flood area despite seeing other cars underwater.  The Captain and two members of Engine 4 began rescue operations for three cars under water, while the driver of Engine 4 attempted to block traffic on Elm Street.  While conducting rescue operations, several cars decided to challenge the flooded roadways and pass around Firefighters despite their shouts to turn around.  Several of them stalled in the high water.

Two members of Engine 4, wearing their Water Rescue Suits, waded in the rising flood waters to check on three cars submerged under the railroad underpass.  One occupant was rescued and waded safely to awaiting emergency crews on the other side of the railroad bridge.  The other occupants had already self-rescued themselves from their flood vehicles.

The Stamford Fire Department would like to remind the public of just a few of the countless hazards posed by attempts to drive through flooded roadways.

  • The most obvious is that the water could cause your car to stall by either entering your tail-pipe or directly flooding your engine. Your car may then fill with water causing significant damage.
  • A stalled car in rising water can put the occupants in immediate peril as the doors of the vehicle become difficult to open with the weight of the rising water pushing on them.  It is extremely difficult to open the door of a fully submerged vehicle until the car completely fills with water. This situation will often lead to drowning.
  • The flood water is often mixed with sewage as the result of the sewer system being overwhelmed,  and backing up, making flood waters potentially toxic.
  • Water rising through manholes in the roadway, often will rise with such power as to displace the manhole cover, causing an EXTREME hazard for both, vehicles and pedestrians, moving through the water.
  • Passing through flood waters when rescue operations are being conducted can significantly impede rescue efforts and pose a significant personal risk to Firefighters and other rescue personnel working in the area.  The wake can knock rescuers off their feet and cause other unpredictable consequences.
  • Passing through flood waters at a high rate of speed often causes a sheet of water to spray up in front of the car and washing over the windshield of the vehicle, preventing the driver from seeing what is in front of them.

All of these hazards were in place at these two rescue scenes today.  Luckily nobody was hurt.





Additional video available on request.

A Heavy Line Of Thunderstorms Storms Swamp Rush Hour Commuters In Flooded Roadways

Posted: June 28, 2018
About the Author: Captain Philip Hayes
Captain Hayes is a 31-year veteran of the Stamford Fire Department. He is currently assigned to the East Side Fire Station #4 on Shippan Avenue. In addition to his regular Fire Officer duties, he is a Public Relations Officer, the developer of the website and serves on the Departments' IT Team. He is also an avid fan of Fire Department history.
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