Claremore Firefighter Who Died During Flood Rescue Remembered
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Flash flooding late Saturday claimed the life of a veteran Claremore firefighter who was swept away while helping trapped families on the west side of town.
Sunday, firefighters and the community grieved the loss of Captain Jason Farley.
Fire officials say he was attempting to rescue people inside several duplexes when the water was high. He got sucked into a storm drain and one of his fellow firefighters tried to help him out.
Steve Darnell could only watch as firefighters walked through the flood waters to save his family.
"By the time we got here they had to take her out of the window all the grand kids and her because it was too high," said Steve Darnell.
As the rescues were wrapping up, firefighters were forced to rescue one of their own.
"It was full of water, you couldn't see the ditch anyways and he was walking through and before you know it you heard screams and whatnot and that was it," said Rico Chavez.
Late Saturday, Fire Captain Jason Farley fell into a rapidly flowing drain pipe on Archer Court at Highway 20. Teams of firefighters and rescuers worked all night to try and save him.
Claremore firefighter Zane James rushed in and got sucked into the drain pipe as well. Fire officials say James was swept a a hundred yards downstream underneath the street and into a nearby stream but he got out and is recovering in the hospital.
Sadly, Captain Farley's body was found hours later when workers dug up the drainage pipe. The Claremore Fire Department is now grieving the loss of a 19 year veteran.
"They're family, so it's going to be really hard for our department to come together and heal and go forward," said Fire Chief Sean Douglas.
As soon as the news of Farley's death got out, flags at the city's fire stations were lowered to half staff.
A grandfather is grateful for the fire captain who risked everything to save his family.
"He's our hero, that's for sure. It could've been our grand kids, my daughter," said Steve Darnell.
I spoke with fellow Captain Ty Burnett of the Claremore Fire Department. He says Captain Farley loved doing his job and all he wanted to do was to help people.