Firefighter Who Saw a Light Amid Flood: 'It Was God'

Family of 5 rescued in Kentucky, with help from a tractor
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2021 7:25 AM CST
Firefighter Who Saw a Light Amid Flood: 'It Was God'
Ricky Keeton, left, of the Oil Springs Fire Department, and Michael Oiler, of the Thelma Fire Department, conduct a water rescue in Paintsville, Kentucky.   (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

Plenty of people had to be rescued from flood waters in southeastern Kentucky over the weekend, including a woman who suffered a seizure, who was moved to safety in the bucket of a tractor. Eddie Stacy of the Hazel Green Volunteer Fire Department was moving his firetruck out of the path of a mudslide when he spotted a cellphone light shining in flood waters on Stamper Branch on Sunday. It turned out to be a family of five, including a 17-month-old boy, trapped in a stalled car with water up to the dashboard, Stacy tells USA Today. Firefighters used a rope to lead four of the five to safety, per WKYT. But the final woman suffered a seizure. That's when Wolfe County Sheriff Chris Carson "came with his tractor," the Fire Department wrote on Facebook. A video shows the woman being driven out of the water in the bucket of the tractor.

Stacy, who'd been in the area to assist in removing a tree from the road, says firefighters "don't do too much training on this water rescue" but "instinct" kicked in. "That little flashlight … just caught my attention," he notes. "It was God to have me in that place where I was supposed to be." He adds the woman later recovered. Heavy rainfall was seen across the state Sunday and Monday, causing flash floods and mudslides. "We expect this to be one of the largest flash-flooding events that we've had," state director of emergency management, Michael Dossett, said Monday as Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency. He added first responders had been "literally saving lives for the last 48, 72 hours." In nearby Lee County, people were evacuated from homes in dump trucks while vaccine doses were rescued by boat, per USA Today and CNN. (Read more Kentucky stories.)

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