Heavy rains on ground already saturated by Hurricane Irene kept firefighters busy in and around Baltimore County. There have been numerous water rescue calls in the western and northern part of the county and northern Howard County. Many of these areas have not seen rising waters like this since Tropical Storm Agnes in June, 1972.
In one operation six firefighters from Baltimore County had a bit of a close call after one rescue boat capsized and another got stuck.Two of the firefighters ended up clinging to trees.
A swift water rescue boat carrying two firefighters capsized in the Patapsco River near Catonsville while they responded to rescue calls near the Howard County line, said Baltimore County spokeswoman Elise Armacost. Four firefighters had to bail out of another boat that got stuck, but all six were eventually accounted for.
Baltimore County firefighter Jason Porrovicchio. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
After the boat flipped in the current, fire specialist Donald Pruitt was able to cling to a tree, but firefighter Jason Porrovicchio said he ended up about 300 yards downstream. There, he held tight to a branch in the water rushing fast enough to knock down trees until it broke and he managed to swim out.
“It was scary,” Porrovicchio said. “It was my first time as a victim.”
Porrovicchio made his way upstream to help rescue Pruitt, who had been holding on to a tree for half an hour. Other rescuers were then able to pull him to safety.
When they got out, Porrovicchio says the men hugged and then they were checked out by medics. Pruitt was taken to an area hospital with a shoulder injury.
Baltimore County fire crews safely rescued six firefighters from the Patapsco River along the Baltimore County/Howard County line.
The firefighters — four from the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Company Swiftwater Rescue Team and two career firefighters from the Texas Station Swiftwater Rescue Team — were involved in those operations.
One firefighter was stranded in a tree surrounded by moving water. Rescue swimmers safely brought him to shore.
Fire officials are still gathering information about what happened to the boat and how the firefighters ended up in the water.
A firefighter was rescued from swift water in the Catonsville area after he became trapped during a rescue operation. Elise Armacost, with the Baltimore County Fire Department, told ABC2 News that one firefighter was pulled to safety after clinging to a tree.
Five other firefighters were able to swim to safety after the went into the water.