Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Water rescue squad gets workout

March 21, 2001

As rain fell Wednesday night, Larry Duarte worried about his parents.

He was concerned the Leavenworth County couple would be stranded at their rural home, perched along Stranger Creek, just north of McIntyre Road.

As it turned out, Duarte was right. The road leading to his parents' home flooded. Because his parents have no telephone, Duarte tried to find a boat to reach the house. But he was unsuccessful.

Members of the Leavenworth County Water Rescue and Technical
Services Team wade through water as help Kathy Duarte, who was
stranded in her home Thursday when Stranger Creek spilled out of
its banks. Duarte and her husband, and their dog, Willow, were
removed from their home, just south of McIntyre Road, by the newly
formed rescue squad.

Members of the Leavenworth County Water Rescue and Technical Services Team wade through water as help Kathy Duarte, who was stranded in her home Thursday when Stranger Creek spilled out of its banks. Duarte and her husband, and their dog, Willow, were removed from their home, just south of McIntyre Road, by the newly formed rescue squad.

So Thursday afternoon he called the sheriff's office, which, in turn, sent out a call to the county's new water rescue team.

Several team members answered the call, and they waded nearly a half-mile sometimes in waist-deep floodwaters to reach Leonard and Kathy Duarte. They then brought the couple, along with the couple's dog, to safety.

"It worried me at first when they said they didn't see their car," Larry Duarte said. "I wondered if they went down the stream trying to get out of there."

But the couple were safe, and were more than happy to leave their island home.

"We didn't know the creek was coming up last night," Kathy Duarte said, seated in the warmth of her son's van.

The rescue effort, at times, was frightening, she said.

"I was afraid that somebody was going to fall into the creek," she said of rescue workers, trying to manage in the swift current.

"This time was totally different from the last time," he said, watching on Thursday as the rescue team made its way to his parents' home.

"They wanted to be secluded. It's secluded now. It's an island."

The Duartes returned to their home after the water subsided.

Dave Couvelha, training officer for the all-volunteer team, said rescuers had some difficulty with the current.

"It was flowing right across that driveway, and it was flowing like a mad dog," he said.

Couvelha was pleased at the results of Thursday's rescue.

"It's what we're here for," he said. "That's why we created the team."

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