BERWYN, PA - The volunteers and career staff of the Berwyn Fire Company responded to 15 fire/EMS calls to get the week started on Monday, July 6th. This included 8 calls in Tredyffrin Township, 6 calls in Easttown Township, and 1 mutual aid call assisting the Paoli Fire Company in Willistown Township.
As a severe thunderstorm rolled into the area in the late afternoon hours, firefighters were dispatched to downed power lines and tree limbs on Brookmead Rd. and Gulph Rd., along with a residential flooding investigation on Amity Dr. in Tredyffrin Township.
While wrapping up the scene on Brookmead Rd., rescue crews were alerted at 4:30 p.m. to the area of Glenhardie Rd. and Richards Rd., also in Tredyffrin Township, for a water rescue. A mutual aid boat from the Jefferson Fire Company No. 1 in Montgomery County was also requested to assist at the scene. The roadway where this call occurred abuts Trout Creek that has a history of swelling quickly during heavy rainstorms. The Valley Creek rain gauge, in nearby Valley Forge National Historical Park, indicated 2.82 inches of rain fell in less than an hour.
First arriving personnel encountered one vehicle in the water with the driver, two children, and dog still inside. A rescue team entered the water to safely remove the subjects before 5:00 p.m. At the same time additional fire/EMS personnel stoodby upstream and downstream, which included a spotter to watch for debris coming down the creek that could harm responders.
Fortunately the family and their dog were safely removed and all responders were uninjured during this incident. The floodwaters later receded and the roads in the immediate area re-opened after they were cleaned up. The Tredyffrin Township Police and Public Works Departments assisted with blocking the roadway leading into the area to provide for the safety of rescuers and to prevent any motorists from getting caught in a similar situation.
The Berwyn Fire Company strongly encourages that if you can't see the road in front of you due to flooding conditions, "Turn around, don't drown!" You need to seek high ground and wait to drive your car, or you will risk getting trapped in swift water. It only takes 6 inches of swift moving water to knock you off of your feet. 12 inches of moving water can sweep your vehicle off of the road. The impact of floodwaters are often underestimated by motorists and pedestrians.