SCFD rescues couple on river, stops fire near home

Mark Wilson
The Somervell County hovercraft searches on Sunday for a husband and wife who became lost and exhausted while tubing on the Brazos River.

A husband and his pregnant wife who became lost and exhausted while on a tubing excursion late Sunday afternoon on the Brazos River were rescued by members of the Somervell County Fire Department — with a little help from technology — according to Fire Chief Mark Crawford.

“Dispatch should be credited for pinging the cell phone and sending us right to them,” Crawford said after the incident, which occurred on the river north of the iron bridge that is on U.S. Highway 67.

Crawford said the couple became exhausted “from fighting the river current.”

The SCFD’s hovercraft was sent, and was able to pick up the two, who were visiting Somervell County.

“They were found approximately two miles off course and were delivered to the waiting ambulance for evaluation,” Crawford noted.

The man told first responders that his wife had become “panicky,” but neither needed to be transported for medical treatment, according to Crawford.

The SCFD also had used its hovercraft to search for a man and his son who were reportedly stranded on the river in a canoe or kayak, but they were able to reach shore on their own.

The rescue was just one part of a busy and successful Sunday for local first responders.

During the same time frame as the river rescue Sunday, the SCFD was also saving a residence that was being threatened by a wildfire.

The fire was called in to 911 as affecting up to 20 acres in the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 144 South, just before County Road 2002.

The fire reached a home propane tank and was within less than 10 feet of the residence, but firefighters quickly extinguished it to avoid serious property damage, according to Assistant Fire Chief Steve Willis.

“The fire impinged on a propane tank, but there was not much fuel load,” Willis said, adding that the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Crawford said that four brush trucks, one fire engine and two water tenders were sent to help protect the home.