Every emergency can be dangerous, but the threat isn’t always moving faster than a horse at full gallop.

 


Every emergency can be dangerous, but the threat isn’t always moving faster than a horse at full gallop.
Hannibal firefighters rescued two people stranded in a car as fast-moving floodwaters rose around them.
“It’s nice when it works out,” said Fire Chief Tim Carter, who was at the scene. “It’s not routine by any means. Our guys did a real good job. It was a really good effort.”
The rescue happened at 5:46 a.m. Thursday on Route F in Ralls County between Center and Vandalia.
New London volunteer firefighters called in the Hannibal rescue unit and other emergency personnel from Marion County and firefighters from Vandalia.
Carter said that when he arrived, the car was on the bridge and surrounded by several hundred yards of water.
Though the current was strong, Carter decided the water was too shallow to deploy the rescue boat. So, the crew drove the fire truck through six inches to eight inches of water and got closer to the bridge.
“Typically, we tell people never to drive through water,” Carter said. “Our command vehicle is a little heavier. We took the risk because the water was still coming up and we thought we could accomplish the mission.”
As firefighters Neil Johnson and Jeff Moore were suiting up with life jackets and ropes, water had reached the floorboard of the car.
By the time they walked through the fast-moving torrent and arrived at the vehicle, the level had risen to the seats.
Johnson and Moore put life jackets on the occupants and walked them  back to the command truck.
The two motorists, Robert Fohey of Palmyra and Mildred Chaney of Shelbina, were cold from being in the water, but declined medical treatment. The two were carpooling to work in Vandalia.
Ralls County Sheriff Paul Forney said later Thursday morning that crews were waiting until the water receded to remove the car from the bridge.
Elsewhere, flash flooding closed Routes K, N and DD in Shelby County and Routes A and C in Monroe County. No road closings were reported in West-Central Illinois.
A flash flood warning remained in effect Thursday night throughout the Hannibal region.