‘Help yourself and get out’: Caney Creek Fire helps rescue neighbors, news crew caught in floodwater

River Plantation neighborhood flooded quickly leaving residents and KPRC 2 crew stuck

CONROE, Texas – The Caney Creek Fire Department has been rescuing people, pets, and even a KPRC 2 News crew nonstop for two days in Conroe’s River Plantation neighborhood.

“Help yourself and get out,” Lt. Anthony Christ said. “I haven’t really seen much dryness.”

Using a swift water rescue boat and a high-water rescue vehicle, the fire crews from Montgomery County’s ESD 9 have been saving people and pets since the West Fork of the San Jacinto River swelled.

Fire Chief Raymond Flannelly told KPRC 2 over the phone he’s proud to work with a dedicated and loyal team.

Even mid-interview Friday evening, Christ was dispatched to another rescue of a couple and their dog, Foo Foo.

“We’ve been fighting this current all night, especially going into the night where we can’t really see. When we’re on this boat, we have zero lighting,” he said.

Thursday night in the same neighborhood, quickly rising flood waters forced KPRC 2′s Bryce Newberry and photojournalist Doug Burgess to abandon a news vehicle and call for help.

There was still a clear entrance to the neighborhood when the crew arrived around 7:45 p.m., but by 10 p.m., the road became inundated with water.

Neighbors who found themselves trapped, and neighborhood visitors who were there to play pickleball, started gathering around the crew’s live shot location to figure out what to do next.

After a call to Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management, Christ led the team that was dispatched in a high-water rescue vehicle.

At least a dozen people rode out in the rescue with the news crew, including kids and pets and person belongings.

“This is so stressful. This is beyond stressful, and we just moved in,” Erica Gines said, who lives in the neighborhood. “It’s kind of, you don’t really know what to do until you’re in this situation and like right now I’m kind of just exhausted.”

She loaded in the truck with her kids and dogs as water filled their home.

“Once it started coming up to the door, about maybe like an hour ago, that’s when I started worrying, so now I’m worried about my room,” her daughter Jayla said, noting it was the first time she had been through a flood.

It was about a 30-minute ride through waist-deep water to get to higher, drier ground, where deputy constables from Montgomery County Precinct 2′s office waited to take people to shelters or wherever they needed to be.

Christ estimated from the time rescuers entered, until the time everyone was pulled out, the water rose nearly a foot and a half.

It was the first of dozens of water rescues for the crew that continued Thursday night into Friday morning.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough told KPRC 2 on Friday afternoon the county had more than 150 water rescues from homes and cars.

He toured the devastation from the air and called it “unbelievable.”

“Everybody needs to pay attention to what they’re doing, and what’s remarkable is how fast it happened,” he said. “My message this weekend is that there’s still going to be flooding, and you need to pay attention to what you’re doing. If you see a barrier, don’t go through the barrier.”

Christ, who said he hasn’t really slept since 7 a.m. on Thursday, encouraged flood-prone homeowners to get out before it’s too late so they don’t end up needing to be rescued.

He’s now looking forward to some well-earned rest.

“Sleep is a con, but getting out and helping people, that’s just what we do,” he said.

About the Author

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.

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