opened its building in Granbury to house those who
were coming to help. Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1),
which functions as one of the 28 federal teams under
the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National
Urban Search and Rescue System and as a statewide
urban search and rescue team under direction of the
Texas Division of Emergency Management, responded
to assist as did Texas Task Force 2 (TX-TF2), an urban
search and rescue team headquartered in Dallas, Texas,
and administered by the Dallas Fire Department.
One city hit hard by this downpour was DeCor-
dova. Multiple homes near Walnut Creek began to fill
with floodwaters, and the call came to evacuate these
residences. The DeCordova Bend Estates (DCBE)/
Acton Volunteer Fire Department, with help from
TX-TF2, began evacuations. High-profile vehicles
were used to reach some of the houses as the streets
became impassable even for large fire engines. In
some areas in DeCordova, water as high as four feet
was reported in homes. In the middle of the evacua-
tions, firefighters had to deal with a leaking 500-gal-
lon propane tank that had been swept away by the
floodwaters and had lodged against a residence.
The evacuations were performed without any
problems as 10 to 15 homes were cleared. The Red
Cross reported that 109 homes were damaged in the
flooding around Hood County.
After things dried out and calmed down, the
DCBE/Acton Fire Department conducted an incident critique. One lieutenant stated in the critique
that, as he helped a lady out of her house, he also had
to carry her Chihuahua. He said he would have liked
to have had something to do with the dog so he could
have had both hands on the woman. As the discussion
continued, the idea of a leash or a life jacket for the
animals was brought up. The idea sounded reasonable, but the fire department had no information or
expertise as to what might work best in this situation.
As we contemplated the issue, an opportunity arose.
We approached a local veterinarian, Dr. Richard
Gesell, and explained the situation. We told him
what we thought we needed and asked for his help.
He consulted with a prominent dog trainer in the
Out of a difficult event
came a solution no one
had thought of before.
(Photo by author.)