Post firefighter honored for flood response actions Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Story and photo by Robert Johnson
Managing editor
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

On Aug. 29, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department honored Fort Leonard Wood firefighter Capt. Bill Allis for his actions during a flash flood in Waynesville on Aug. 6.

But, if you listen to Allis, the honors should go to his crew instead.
Pulaski County Sheriff Deputy John Groves, left, reads a citation presented to Fort Leonard Wood firefighter Capt. Bill Allis for his actions during a flash flooding in Waynesville. Allis, far right and his crew, from right to left, of Capt. Levi Gremp, Lt. Bobby Liveoak and Lt. Michael Sheek, were honored during a ceremony at the Pulaski County Courthouse Aug. 29. Not present, but a member of the crew, was Firefighter Roy Conner.

On the morning of Aug. 6, Allis, along with Capt. Levi Gremp, Lt. Michael Sheek, Lt. Bobby Liveoak and Firefighter Roy Conner, all from the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department, departed post and headed into the darkness and rising waters in Waynesville.

“We had no idea what we would find when we got there, but the water was rising pretty fast. I had never seen anything like it at all in my life,” said Liveoak. “Before we launched the first boat, we knew it was bad.”

Within minutes, the crews had conducted several rescues using two separate boats.

“Between the two crews, we had 19 rescues,” Allis said.

One boat was working on their 12th rescue when disaster struck.

“There was all kinds of stuff in the water. Floating propane tanks, trash — when a shed floats by you, and not a small one, you know that water has some power. That’s when our boat struck something underwater and sank,” Liveoak said.

    The crew scrambled onto a shed that had floated by and was safe for the moment, but others in the water were not so lucky.

    “From the banks of the creek, I saw the women in the water and realized the boat was out of action, so I lept into the water and floated to the two women. I got them secure at a tree and told them to keep climbing up as the water continued to rise,” Allis said.

    “I was just able to see them because one of the women had a small flashlight. It was dark and you couldn’t hear much over the roar of the water,” Allis said.

    The others on the crew searched for Allis and were able to locate him and guide a Missouri Highway Patrol watercraft to the location. Allis refused assistance until both women were secure.

    Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long praised Allis for his actions, but the firefighter turned the praise back to his crew.

    “We had gone through the training and the crew knew the calculated risks. We stayed focused and maintained control,” Allis said.

    For his effort, the sheriff’s deparpartment recognized his actions as above and beyond the call of duty — something Allis chalked up as “all in a day’s work.”

    “You go home at night and you don’t tell your Family what you just went through, you just hug them a little harder,” Allis said.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 September 2013 )