Denton Firefighters Prepare to Help Gulf Coast in Potential Tropical Depression - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Weather Connection

Weather Connection

Denton Firefighters Prepare to Help Gulf Coast in Potential Tropical Depression

After helping in the aftermath of Harvey, these firefighters say they'll carry the memories and lessons with them into the next call of duty.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Denton Firefighters Prepare to Help Gulf Coast

    Gov. Greg Abbott is raising the state's alert level ahead of tropical weather hitting the Gulf Coast this weekend and Texas Task Force One will be deployed, which includes members from the Denton Fire Department's swift water boat team. (Published Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018)

    Gov. Greg Abbott is raising the state's alert level ahead of tropical weather hitting the Gulf Coast this weekend and Texas Task Force One will be deployed, which includes members from the Denton Fire Department's swift water boat team.

    Part of that team is just back from helping those who faced flooding in Galveston. With the ground already saturated along the Coast, more rain means more trouble.

    Denton Firefighter Vance Bowden knows the routine by heart.

    "You've got zippers you have to check," he said while looking over his safety gear.

    But no matter how often he does it, he never skips a step.

    "Make sure there's no holes at the bottom, water coming through," he added.

    He and Captain Jared Hornback are prepping for their next deployment -- a potential tropical depression that may hit Houston and the Gulf Coast this weekend.

    "Getting everything ready, I can't sleep, it's just, I'm ready to go," Bowden said.

    "Having your equipment ready, being prepared at a moment's notice because you never know quite exactly when the emergency is going to arise," Hornback said.

    He and Bowden and their Denton Fire swift water boat team are part of Texas Task Force 1, based out of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and deployed around the state for high water rescues in major disasters.

    “Moving water is just extremely, extremely dangerous,” Bowden said.

    Their biggest test came with Hurricane Harvey.

    “I think in one day we pulled out about 500 people just with two boats and the assistance of the military forces,” Bowden said.

    "When you're pulling people out of their flooded homes, knowing that they've lost almost everything and they're thanking you and hugging you, it can be very emotional," Hornback said.

    These are memories and lessons that they'll carry with them into the next call of duty.

    Texas Task Force One has a second crew deployed in North Carolina, prepared to deal with major damage like a building collapse from Hurricane Florence.

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