The sight of firefighters trying to rescue a flood-stranded resident in a paddle boat was just too much for members of the Bellevue Fire Department.
“We were contacted,” said Bonnie Knutson, president of the nonprofit Bellevue Public Safety Foundation. “We sent it out to the board and the board said, ‘Yep, let’s do it.’”
She said the board agreed to help raise the approximately $76,000 it will take to purchase and fully equip a hovercraft that can be used to rescue persons stranded in floods or icy rivers and streams.
The foundation was contacted after two firefighters paddled to the rescue of an 85-year-old man in the Sands Trailer Park south of LaPlatte.
Firefighter George Lee, one of the two firefighters, said they responded to a 911 call from a man who ignored orders to evacuate and decided to ride the flood out. When they arrived on the scene, Lee said, a civilian let them borrow a paddle boat and oars, and out they paddled.
Lee said the rescue took about 25 minutes.