Beshear makes stop in Lexington to thank first responders involved with flood rescues
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear stopped in Lexington to thank first responders on Thursday, saying some with the Lexington Fire Department rescued 130 Kentuckians alone and assisted in missions that saved more than 2,000 lives.
The governor commissioned the first responders as Kentucky Colonels, the highest honor he can bestow.
“They all put their lives on the line. I mean some of them even had their kids here today. They had to have been thinking about them during some of these rescues,” Gov. Beshear said.
More than 50 Lexington Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Crew members were originally tasked to help in Hazard. But when they got to Breathitt County early Thursday morning, they quickly realized that’s where they were needed most.
“We had a crew that rescued eight people off one roof. When they went back, the house was gone,” Major Adam Sorrell said.
The intensity of the rushing water was nothing like Major Sorrell had seen, or worked in, before.
“We had cars floating by. A lot of debris in the water. It made boating operations very hazardous,” Sorrells said. “We had to use swift water boats and it made it very difficult to navigate it through there. The crews had to wear dry suits because the water was contaminated. And while they’re in them, you can usually only handle two or three hours in the heat, we were asking them to do four.”
But it didn’t matter to these first responders. There were hundreds of people left to save.
“It was just great to see the people come back to shore and be on dry land. When you see someone who goes from imminent danger, to being safe, it really is a feeling that you can’t describe,” Sorrell said.
LFD crews are still helping in eastern Kentucky, and are now part of incident management teams already on the ground.
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