CLEVELAND (WJW) — Video released to the Fox 8 I-Team shows heroes on the highway rescuing drivers all over Northeast Ohio after heavy rain.
Video from first responders shows what it took to save lives Wednesday night after a storm left drivers stranded in high water.
Lakewood firefighters rescued ten people from several vehicles on I-90. The video shows firefighters walking with some people through water more than knee-deep. The firefighters also used rafts to get people from the cars to safety.
A 9-1-1 caller said, “I have stalled out in the middle of 90. I’m just really nervous. I can’t tell, I’m afraid to get hit.”
Lakewood Assistant Fire Chief Nick Sambula found heavy rains had left water on the highway up to five to six feet deep.
He told the I-Team, “Even though we were on the highway, I recognized we had to treat this as a swift water rescue. We had some difficulty getting some of the vehicle doors open because of the pressure of the water, so we had to break some windows out.”
Body camera video also shows Lakewood Police checking out drivers stuck in high water near W. 117 Street and Madison. At least one driver went around a police car, then didn’t make it through the water.
Lakewood firefighters ended up clearing the highway by having about 250 drivers turn around and go the wrong way. Fire crews carefully turned drivers back to get them off of I-90. Sending traffic up a ramp normally used to get onto the highway.
Along I-90 on the east side, the Ohio State Highway Patrol pulled up to a crash caused by high water. A trooper joined Cleveland firefighters already at the scene.
Sandusky Police rescued three people from high water. In one case, officers teamed up with workers from Mosser Construction.
The video also shows drivers in trouble in Parma. Firefighters also used rafts to float people to safety.
Back in Lakewood, somehow, first responders found a way to get to everyone. But, this situation could have been deadly.
Assistant Chief Sambula said, “You never really prepare for what the situation could be in the sense of vehicles stuck in water on I-90. And, to have everybody walk away safe and sound, there were no injuries to any of the first responders, any of the occupants.”
Drivers found themselves in danger, and then they saw help at their door even in the middle of the storm.