First Responders

Nashville Swift Water Rescue Teams Save 200 in Historic Deadly Flooding

March 29, 2021Matt White
Nashville Swift Water Rescue

Nashville Swift Water Rescue teams pulled 200 Nashville-area residents to safety in the weekend’s floods.

Nashville Swift Water rescue teams pulled at least 200 people — and 40 trapped dogs — to safety during a weekend of historic flooding.

Despite an all-out response from the region’s EMS and fire departments, five died in the region’s worst rains in a decade Saturday and Sunday. Officials say three perished in flooded cars while two others were found in tents near a campsite used by the homeless. One firetruck was also seen flooded out in footage shared online.

Officials at the Nashville Fire Department launched 10 boats with swift water rescue teams, officials said. One Nashville Swift Water Rescue boat team rescued 15 from a flooded apartment complex, while another ferried 40 dogs to dry land at a Camp Bow Wow boarding facility. In all, close to 600 Nashville-based first responders reached 250 people who called for storm-related help Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Williamson County, just south of Nashville, was home to some of the heaviest rainfall with more than 8 inches recorded and some of the heaviest flooding. Officials there responded to 34 water rescue calls in cars, homes, and other flooding, bringing to dry land more than 70 people.

“Members of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division were called in overnight and had to use two (2) five-ton army surplus vehicles to get through the rising flood water,” said a county spokesperson. “Deputies found several abandoned vehicles on flooded roads. Around midnight Deputies were going house to house to check on families.”

Police in Mt. Juliet, about 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, posted pictures of an armored vehicle they said was used throughout the flood to reach stranded residents.

In all, over 7 inches of rain flooded the Cumberland River and other waterways around the Nashville region, turning streets and homes into watery traps. Local officials said the deluge ranked as the worst ever recorded in the month of March, the worst flooding to hit the Nashville region since the historic floods of 2010, and the fifth-largest rain event in city history.

Read Next: Alaska Pararescue Team Rescues Iditarod Fan Favorite

Matt White
Matt White

Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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