Update: Fire department under review after Fort Smith woman dies in flood waters

  • Source: KHOG-TV ABC 29/KHBS-TV 40 Fayetteville-Fort Smith
  • Published: 09/10/2019 07:44 PM

The Fort Smith Fire Department is conducting an internal investigation into the death of Debbie Stevens, who drowned in flash flood waters during the early morning hours on August, 24th. Fire Chief, Phil Christensen, told 40/29 News the investigation will examine response times, policies and procedures to help determine if changes or improvements should be made with within the department. "The 911 call affected me personally," Chief Christensen said. "I had a hard time listening through it. I've listened to the audio tapes time and time again and my heart goes out to the family." Debbie Stevens was delivering newspapers when she told the 911 dispatcher she didn't see the flood water and drove into it. Her SUV was swept into trees and the drainage channel at the end of Kinkead Avenue. According to the timeline of events provided by the police department, from the initial call to 911, it took approximately 16 minutes for police officers and firefighters to find where Stevens was located.


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