Austin Fire, ATCEMS units deploy to southeast Texas to assist in rescue efforts after flooding emergency

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AUSTIN, Texas — Several first responders from the Austin metropolitan area have been deployed to southeast Texas as part of an ongoing search and rescue effort.

RELATED: More than 1,000 rescues, evacuations as Imelda soaks Texas

The Austin Fire Department said on Twitter it sent a total of eight members to the region, six of whom will work together as a swift water rescue boat team.

On Thursday afternoon, Austin-Travis County EMS announced it sent seven people to assist with rescue efforts, along with two ambulances.

Both agencies are members of Texas A&M Task Force 1, a state and federal search and rescue team that serves the region.

The group is assisting other local fire and EMS departments after Tropical Storm Imelda stalled over the region and dropped inches of rain, leading to multiple rescues from flooded homes and cars on Thursday.

RELATED: Declaration of disaster issued for several southeast Texas counties

“Endless search and rescue missions, doing a lot of evacuations, a lot of rescues in some areas – getting people out of homes that have been flooded and cars that have driven into water that should have never been there,” Task Force 1 spokesperson Stephen Bjune told KVUE. “We’re talking about 35+ inches of rain that’s turned into 6 feet of water in some places.”

It’s unclear how long the Austin crews will stay in the region.

“At this point, the weather doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with the forecasters, so we’re going to remain active as long as there’s a threat to Texans,” Bjune said.

RELATED: Jefferson County man electrocuted in Imelda floodwaters while moving horse

The Salvation Army of Austin is currently on standby to provide assistance. Volunteers with the Austin Disaster Relief Network and the American Red Cross in Austin are preparing to deploy soon.


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