Austin Fire crews rescue 60 people in South Austin


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 11:47 AM

AUSTIN -- Thursday morning helicopters circled above Bluff Springs Road as Austin Fire water rescue teams went house to house by boat searching for people trapped and afraid.

"We did not know whether we were going to live or not," said homeowner Nancy Kimbro.

A neighbor called Kimbro telling her to wake up and get out. When she got out of bed, she found water was already in the house. She woke up her son and realized her husband was outside trying to save animals the family kennels. Kimbro made it outside and got into the bed of a pickup truck. The water swept the truck into the fence. 

"My son grabbed me and he pulled me to the tree and we stood on this chain link fence with our arms wrapped around that tree for about an hour," Kimbro said. 

The Kimbro's had to wait in line. Thirty other people called 911 before them needing to be rescued.

"He kept getting off the top of the car and running over and trying to swim over and wave to the helicopter," said Vicki Hardin, speaking of her partner Jacques Doisot. 

"Because we're under the carport they couldn't see us so I had to swim out. It's cold," he said laughing.

Crews rescued a total of 60 people from the Onion and Boggy Creeks area. But some residents didn't wait for crews. They got out on their own.

"We walked out and barely walking, fighting for air because the water was pushing on you. It was coming so and you couldn't see because it was dark," said Anna Vallejo.

Fire officials said everyone in the Bluff Springs neighborhood is accounted for and only one person injured. But several animals perished, including many of the Kimbro's animals.

With the water receding, families are going back into their homes discovering the damage left behind.

"Thirty-five years I've been having my house. Everything, everything I have is gone forever. Everything," Anna Vallejo said.

Through the cries of desperation, they said they see the bigger picture and are grateful.

"We are alive and we're safe and God is good because He protected us," Kimbro said. 

Many of the residents cannot stay in their homes. The Parker Lane United Methodist Church is serving as a shelter.

City officials say people who want to help can make donations to the Red Cross of Central Texas and the Salvation Army.