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Tow truck driver helps rescue woman from flooded Belmont Ave (PA)

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BELMONT HILLS, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The heavy rain dumped on the region by Tropical Storm Isaias on led to flooding across the area, including a busy intersection just off the Schuylkill Expressway.

It looked like river rapids as water gushed down Belmont Avenue at the ramps to I-76 around midday Tuesday.

"In about two minutes, the water just came out of the drainpipe up there and flooded the entire area, and was about three feet high," said Jerry DeFrancesco of Bala Motor Sports, a nearby business.


Two drivers became stranded in the floodwater after two drains became clogged with debris.

Bala Motor Sports employee Rick Ortiz backed up his tow truck to pull one woman to safety.

"The water got so high up. I just came around and said, 'look, I can rescue them because it's getting too crazy,'" Ortiz said.

Soon, Lower Merion firefighters arrived and moved as a team across the engulfed Belmont Avenue. They brought another driver and one of Ortiz's co-workers to safety.

"I work in the office. I saw the water coming high, so that's when I told myself 'I gotta get out of there,'" said Bala Motor Sports employee Maria Oyola.


RESOURCE LINK with video

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This is a great video to show the dangers tow operator experience when they go into flash waters unprepared and untrained. No vehicle is worth risking injury, long-termed illness or death over. And to the motoring public, the simple ditty of, "Turn around don't drown", are words to live by, but there's always someone who thinks they can simply drive into shallow water and make a crossing without danger ... and THAT includes tow truck operators.  The attached video is a good forensic view or the dangers associated with water incidents.       R




Randall C. Resch

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