Lawton Fire Department on standby for Hurricane Harvey

Lawton Fire Department on standby for Hurricane Harvey
[Source KSWO]
[Source KSWO]
LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Although residents in Houston are finally starting to see some sunshine, Lawton's fire department is on standby to send a crew if needed.

The department could receive the call as early as Thursday night to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
Once in Houston, they plan to focus on water rescues.

"We're going to just be going out there to help any way we can,” said Sgt. William Justus, Lawton Fire Department. “If it's delivering food, water, if it's rescuing people from flood waters. Whichever and whatever they need."

Justus is just one of 35 firefighters on standby to head out to Houston.

He has worked with Lawton fire department for 12 years.

He said their team is trained to rescue people in life threatening situations and that includes swift waters.

"Lawton is notorious for if we get a quick four-inch rain of flooding up,” said Justus. “It recedes down pretty fast, but we typically have to rescue people out of vehicles and stuff that drive into the high waters."

The department would be one of many emergency rescue teams already deployed to Houston.

Fire chief Dewayne Burk said he has no doubt they will be able to make a difference

"Anytime you get in a massive incident like this one, something substantial,” said Burk. “It overwhelms local resources relatively quickly. And so, we provide this as a mutual aid effort."

Burk said the severity of the flooding will determine how long they will have to stay down there and help.

Which is exactly what Justus said he's eager to do---put his training to the test in Houston.

"That's what we do,” said Justus. “We're not here for the pay checks. Ninety percent of the time were here to help people and it's just the type of guys we have in the department. We're willing to help in any and every community."

"You do what you can do and rely on your training and your equipment and give your best,” said Burk. “And that's what these guys will be doing."

Burk also urges people not to self-deploy for their own personal safety and for the safety of those down in Houston.

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