As the rain poured on Saturday, a teenage boy was caught up in the flow of Sinking Creek near East Adams Avenue, close to Office Max in Lebanon.
He was clinging to a telephone pole when emergency crews arrived. Authorities received a third-party call about the victim at around 11:16 a.m.
The Lebanon Fire Department arrived and sent out a three man crew to rescue the boy. One to go to the victim and two to help the victim and rescuer back to safety.
“He was just clinging to the telephone pole and the water was beating him pretty bad,” said Bobby Cawthon, a Lebanon fire shift commander who was on the scene. “The water was rushing pretty fast and our guy waded about 75 yards into the water before he started wading to him.”
As the water rushed by, the rescuer made it to the telephone pole and helped calm the boy. The other two rescuers threw rope bags and pulled them back to safety.
“One of the guys carried [the victim] from the creek all the way up to a gravel parking lot by the road there,” Cawthon said. “They were real heroes today.”
Cawthon said the rescue took about 15 minutes, and the boy was stable when the fire crew turned him over to medics. Wilson County Emergency Management Agency paramedics and first responders were on the scene, as well.
“It was a full rescue, pretty amazing,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jason Baird. “Our guys are banged up a little, but they saved him no doubt.”
Fire Chief Chris Dowell said the last water rescue in Lebanon happened about three years ago. He also said the Lebanon firefighters train for situations like these year in and year out.
“A lot of people don’t know that this is what we do. We’ve been training for water rescue for years, and we’ve got all the equipment, all the ropes and what we need for this. When the situation like this occurs, the training pays off,” Dowell said.
Flooding is expected to continue throughout Saturday and possibly into Sunday morning. Cawthon said sections of road may close as water swells due to rainfall and roads will open again when the water recedes.
“Don’t drive through flooded water,” Cawthon said. “Don’t play in it and stay away from it.”
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