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DCBE/Acton Fire Department
works with businesses to create
animal life jackets
By Stephen Boynton
The drought that had a stranglehold on Texas for six years, beginning in 2010, began to lessen
its grip in April 2015. In north central Texas, Lake
Granbury in Hood County filled up during the
spring rains; the lake had been down as much as
11 feet. Lake Granbury is one of three impoundments, along with Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake
Whitney, on the Brazos River. The Brazos River
starts in the Llano Estacado area of the panhandle of
Texas and flows 840 miles southward into the Gulf of
Mexico near the city of Freeport, Texas.
April 2015 also produced a tornado in the county.
The Hood County Fire Marshal’s Office asked for
a disaster declaration, the first of what would be
several federally declared disasters for Hood County
in the next 13 months. The area was also struck by
flooding in April 2015, with a tornado in March
2016. Toward the end of May 2016, after an average amount of rainfall for a North Texas spring, the
National Weather Service began warning emergency
management agencies about an upcoming unusual
rain event. On May 26, it began.
Over the course of the next nine days, parts of
Hood County received more than nine inches of
rain. Because the area had been soaked with the normal springtime rainfall up to this point, the ground
could only absorb so much. Fire departments,
emergency medical services (EMS), law enforcement,
emergency management offices, and other rescue
agencies marshaled their resources to deal with the
effects of the storm complex. Creeks that hadn’t
flooded in 30-plus years went out over their banks.
As the rain continued and floodwaters covered many
roadways, numerous vehicle rescues were made.
The countywide event stretched fire departments,
EMS, and law enforcement personnel very thin. Access
to areas needing assessment or rescue became difficult
as roads across Hood County began to be covered
with water. The nine fire departments in the county
have a long history of cooperation and mutual aid, but
the impact of the flooding quickly overburdened the
departments, causing each department to keep some
resources in their area to provide for the numerous
emergencies that were anticipated and then realized.
Entire subdivisions had to be evacuated.
As the situation worsened, outside agencies were
asked to respond and assist. The Texas National Guard
and the Texas Division of Emergency Management
responded to the area to lend their equipment and personnel to the rescue efforts. The Texas Forest Service
Members of several of the fire departments in Hood County around
Ginger, the dog, modeling the life jacket at a public ceremony at
DCBE/Acton Volunteer Fire Department. Holding Ginger is Richard
Gesell DVM of Acton Animal Hospital. The man in the white cap in
the back row is Bill Walters; his wife Rita is standing in front of
him. They own Texas Dog Academy. (Photo by Bill Stone.)