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Comanche County flooding response efforts

COMANCHE COUNTY, Okla._A rescue situation can quickly become dangerous, for not only the victims, but also the rescue teams.

Cache Fire Chief Dale Winham said he sent a crew of firefighters out Saturday night to start evacuating people from their homes where water levels were rising fast, and within just ten minutes, they were in trouble.

"They were notifying me that water was now up to the door," Winham.

The firefighters tried to back the truck out of the water, but they couldn't even see the roadway.

"We couldn't even get to them, we couldn't even see them from my vantage point, which was about a quarter of a mile away, and the water was too high."

The water had now entered the cab of the truck and the firefighters are still stuck inside. So another crew has gone in to try and save them.

"They, as well, try to back up; got stuck, and so now they're trapped."

Winham said at this point he had to call in reinforcements.

I immediately called for Lawton Fire Department water rescue team, I knew it was going to be a boat rescue at this point, nothing else was going to work."

Once Lawton Fire arrived they were able to safely rescue the trapped firefighters.

The first truck that was submerged, is a total loss, the other is able to be repaired. Winham said with the help of Lawton Police Department and Fire they were able to go on to make a total of 28 rescues.

The flooding in Comanche County over the weekend required the combined efforts of several first responders.

Lawton Police and Fire are the only ones in the area with Swift Water Rescue Teams. Those were needed to rescue residents who were trapped in flood waters.

The city's bus service also played a vital role, as LATS buses were used to shuttle some evacuees to those shelters.

Comanche County Emergency Management notified residents who needed to evacuate their homes.

"We were able to make some arrangements with Red Cross and the Great Plains Coliseum," said Michael Meritt, Comanche County Emergency Management.

"This whole evacuation was a concerted effort between PD and those agencies and the fire departments," said Jay Collins, Assistant Fire Chief Lawton Fire Department.

Comanche County Emergency Management also said Monday that there were no casualties, and that everyone has been accounted for.

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