OWL VFD Members Receive Silver Medal of Valor
The medal was awarded to those crews who had braved the emergency conditions of Tropical Storm Lee.
From Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department Public Relations Specialist Rebecca Barnes:
OWL VFD crews recently received the Silver Medal of Valor for braving the emergency conditions of Tropical Storm Lee to rescue victims of the flash flooding along the Route 1 corridor in Woodbridge.
At about 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 of last year, 911 callers began to report that residents of Holly Acres Mobile Home Park were trapped and unable to leave their residences becaue of flash flooding. When OWL VFD rescue 502 arrived on scene, the lower half of the park was flooded with close to ten feet of water. There were people on top of vehicles, while others were attempting to make their way to safety, some tied together with a rope. Crew members noticed propane tanks that had detached themselves from trailers and were now being carried along by the current, venting gas.
Rescue 502 and Boat 517 worked to develop a strategy to evacuate the trailer park as quickly and safely as possible. In one residence they found two individuals unable to leave their home of their own accord even in the best conditions. One, a 500 pound woman, was unable to walk. The crews carried the man approximately 100 feet at shoulder height in chest-deep water to a waiting medic unit.
At Marumsco Hills Park, OWL VFD Battalion Chief 506 discovered approximately 30 people clinging to a fence as water surged around them. As additional crews arrived, the group was quickly rescued and carried to safety. Along Easy Street and Jefferson Davis Highway, individuals trapped in stores were rescued and take to temporary shelters until something more permanent could be opened.
Though a community was devastated materially, not one life was lost in the harrowing ordeal. For working together to secure the safety of residents, the Silver Medal of Valor was presented to the crews of OWL VFD.