The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 14, 2013

Firefighters, police aid growing list of communities

EDMOND — During the past few weeks Edmond first responders have been busy, assisting a growing list of incidents — tornadoes, flash flooding and a drowning.

On May 19, tornado paths tracked in or near Edmond, Arcadia, Luther, Carney and Shawnee.

On May 20 tornadoes were in or near Newcastle, Little Axe, Oklahoma City, Moore, El Reno, Marlow, Bray and Meeker. Heavy rains affected much of Oklahoma County.

On May 31, an EF-5 tornado with a maximum width of 2.6 miles and maximum winds of 295 mph formed in the El Reno area. Other tornado paths tracked in or near Omega, Calumet, Lightning Creek Park, southwest Oklahoma City and Moore. Flash flooding led to at least 23 high water rescues. The rains elevated the water level of Arcadia Lake by 10.5 feet flooding much of the park areas. The city closed the lake to the public indefinitely as of June 3, but city officials are hopeful the lake will reopen soon. The elevated water levels flowing downstream from the metro may have played a role in a drowning near Luther in the Deep Fork River.

Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said the agency sent several personnel to Moore who worked in 15-hour shifts day and night through May 24. They assisted with command post operations, securing the perimeter and they detained looters until they were arrested by the Moore Police Department.

Monroe said the EPD had 5.75 hours of overtime on the May 19 Edmond tornado and 592.25 hours of OT on the Moore tornado. The agency is still working with the federal government to determine the amount of reimbursement, Monroe said.

“For the men and women of the Edmond Police Department, it’s natural instinct to want to help,” Monroe said. “They understand what their colleagues are going through.”

The agency also knows, due to the brotherhood that exists among first responders, that if a need were to arise in Edmond, others would come here, Monroe said.

Fire Chief Jake Rhoades said on May 20, the Edmond Fire Department sent nearly 40 personnel including members of an urban search-and-rescue team and the department’s nine fire recruits. Fire personnel worked shifts until the following day, Rhoades said.

After their service, they were debriefed by a facilitator who did the same following the EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin a couple of years ago, Rhoades said. Debriefing helps personnel process their feelings and prepares them for the next call, he said.

Since May 19, Edmond personnel have responded to weather-related events in Carney, Shawnee, Kingfisher, Moore and most recently the drowning near Luther in the Deep Fork River, Rhoades said. As long as Edmond is taken care of first, city officials support assisting other communities as needs arise, Rhoades said.

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