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Austin men take pontoon boats to help with Harvey flooding rescues

Multiple Austin-area first responders are helping out with water rescues in Houston, and civilians are taking up the call too. (Photo: Robert Fagg)

Multiple Austin-area first responders are helping out with water rescues in Houston, and civilians are taking up the call too.

Known as the Texas Navy, volunteers with boats are travelling to Houston to help with the thousands of rescues in flooded streets and neighborhoods.

Two of those in the Texas Navy were from the Austin business Wave in Water. Robert Fagg says they drove off with two pontoon boats at around 6 p.m. Sunday evening and got to Houston several hours later. Since then they’ve rescued people trapped in a median, from an over-turned boat and from a hotel surrounded by water.

Fagg said it’s not just Texans there, a lot of them are from Louisiana.

“There’s a lot of guys from Louisiana in their little john boats and flat bottomed fishing boats and stuff like that,” Fagg said.

“Paying back the favor,” Fagg said.

Fagg experienced Tropical Storm Allison himself in 2001 and he said that’s why he wanted to help out.

“It’s kind of like deja vu all over again except for this is actually a little worse. It seems like there’s more water all over the place,” Fagg said.

“I always hope people would help me out if I was in a situation, I feel like it’s only right,” Fagg said.

Multiple first responders from the Austin area are also in Houston Monday night. A swift-water rescue team from Hays County sent a crew of trucks and boats Monday afternoon. Williamson County Sheriff’s Office sent a second crew Monday evening after a first crew made around 20 rescues from Sunday night on.

Williamson County SWAT also sent two military style trucks with four crew members to help. 24 Austin firefighters are in East Texas through Texas Task Force One. That includes helicopter crewmembers.

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