Oklahoma Task Force One Returning Home From Texas On Monday

Oklahoma Task Force One is prepping to come home Monday after spending the last two weeks helping Texas deal with severe weather response.

Sunday, June 9th 2024, 9:57 pm



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Oklahoma Task Force One is prepping to come home Monday after spending the last two weeks helping Texas deal with severe weather response.

The team of 16 specializes in water rescues and half of the members are from Green Country.

The team members come from The Tulsa Fire Department, GRDA, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, and the Verdigris Fire Department.

Task Force One leader Matt Bell says this team is the best of the best, and he's most impressed with his team's flexibility and their ability to adapt on this trip after having to travel to three locations in 11 days.

It's been a busy couple of months for Oklahoma Task Force One.

"We responded to the Barnsdall tornado, the Claremore tornado, and then immediately after that we got requested to come down to Texas," Bell said.

The Lone Star state has been dealing with severe storms and flooding the last month. Oklahoma Task Force One has been in Texas to help relieve first responders who are stretched thin due to weather.

"To put it in terms it's very similar to what we experienced in Tulsa in 2019," said Bell.

During this trip, they have been to three locations. They started in Grand Prairie, moved to Mount Vernon, then ended in College Station. 

During one of the stops, Bell said the team saved a woman who drove into a flooded area.

"She drove through some water and it flooded her car out so she got trapped and OKTF 1 was able to rescue her," Bell said.

The drains and lake systems in those areas are at capacity, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying to drain the excess rainfall throughout Texas to prevent future flooding. 

"They've held us in place to make sure as these waterways start to go down and they start to drain it, that they don't make a mistake and flood an area, we're here to respond in case that were to happen," Bell said.

After being away from Oklahoma for nearly two weeks, Bell said the team is ready to come home.

Especially for team member Ryan Stephens, who missed his son Colton's first birthday and first steps.

"They're anxious to get home and they're kind of excited today because they know there's a light at the end of the tunnel," said Bell.

Bell says the team is scheduled to return to Tulsa by 6:30 Monday. 


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