The Mansfield Fire Department has saved more than a dozen people from high water the past couple weeks as record-setting rainfall has impacted residents and drivers.
Arlington, the National Weather Service’s closest weather gauge to Mansfield, received 18.83 inches in May, more than four times the month’s 4.52 average, to become the wettest May since the weather service began keeping records in 1898, said meteorologist Jesse Moore. D/FW Airport, where the official rain totals are kept, received 16.96 inches in May, making this month the second-wettest since April 1922, when D/FW received 17.64 inches, Moore said.
Fire Chief Barry Bondurant said on Mother’s Day weekend the city received about 6 inches of rain in six hours. In that period the fire department conducted six high-water rescues, three were major incidents where the fire department had to deploy their water rescue vehicle. In minor incidents, firefighters can walk or wade in water to rescue people.
Bondurant said the department also rescued about 15 horses from a barn during the flooding, when the water was up to the horses’ necks.
On the weekend of the May 24 the fire department conducted two rescues and did have to close some streets due to flooding.
Bondurant said the state provided Mansfield with 100 sandbags May 23 and the city used them all.
Another bout of heavy rain late Thursday and early Friday forced the city to close roads and parks due to flooding including Retta Road, West Broad at Lillian Road, Hardy Allmon Soccer Fields, Katherine Rose Memorial Park and Oliver Nature Park.
He also recognized the partnerships between the city’s other departments.
“It’s always the police and fire that get recognition,” Bondurant said. “I wanted to tip my hat to the parks, streets and water department.”
Thursday was the first time in awhile city staff was able to mow the grass at its parks.
Parks Superintendent Toby Fojtik said the parks staff has gotten into a routine of maintaining the parks during this rainy May.
“We’re in sort of a repetitive motion now,” he said. “We've got it down to a science.”
Fojtik said crews go out in the morning to remove silt from the trails, any downed trees and tree limbs and replace any decomposed granite on the trails.
He said the most common flooding places in the parks are the low water crossing at Rose Park and under the bridge on the Walnut Creek Linear Trail.
Bondurant said during flash flood warnings, people should stay inside and only go out if necessary. He also urged drivers to avoided roads that look flooded and not to gamble on crossing a road with water.
“Even if the water seems dormant, it doesn’t take much to move a person or a car,” he said.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770