First responders fight floodwaters to reach medical patient - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First responders fight floodwaters to reach medical patient

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METROPOLIS, Ill. -- Massac County Emergency crews had to battle freezing floodwaters Monday morning to reach a patient suffering from a serious medical event. 

Metropolis first responders had to use a boat to reach a 41-year-old man who a caller said was unresponsive and not breathing. 

The crews had to launch from the middle of Third Street near Johnson Street. 

They then had to paddle down one block to Ohio Street to reach the patient's house, and they did it while fighting freezing floodwaters. 

Metropolis Fire Captain Micah Tolbert said he was caught off guard by a call the department received Monday morning. 

"When they dispatched out for a unresponsive, not breathing male in a home surrounded by water, we were kind of taken back because we thought everyone that was affected by the flood had sought shelter," Tolbert said. "It was cold and there was a little bit of ice we had to break through as the water got shallower the closer we got to land."

Tolbert said the team immediately headed to the patient's house, but water stopped the crew from being able to drive straight to the house and by this point, the Metropolis Emergency Management Boat had not yet arrived. 

"By the time we had got there, a neighbor had a boat out and we commandeered his boat, loaded the paramedic on it and paddled from the shoreline to the patient's home," Tolbert said. 

Shortly after, the city's emergency boat arrived and the sonar equipment inside the boat said the water was anywhere between six to eight feet deep.

Police Chief Harry Masse says a woman inside the home started CPR before paramedics got there, but the man did not survive. 

"It was maybe a minute and a half to a two minute delay from what our normal response would be from the station to Ohio Street," Masse said. "I can't fault this flood for any delay. We were on scene and the captains were able to paddle out there within five minutes of us receiving the call."

Tolbert said during the flood, the fire department spends every morning checking on roads covered with water to help them figured out how to gain access to a home if there were an emergency. 

If you are a flood victim and in need of help in Massac County, county's Emergency Management Agency posted on their Facebook page that the Red Cross has set up a shelter at Brookport First Baptist Church. 

For more information, call Massac County Emergency Services at 618-524-2002 or the Red Cross at 844-319-6560.

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