HFD Station 8

Houston Fire Department Station 8 is located near downtown Houston and services Montrose, Third Ward, and Fifth Ward. During Hurricane Harvey and previous floods, such as the Memorial Day flood in 2015, firefighters say that they conducted a lot of rescues of people who got stuck in their cars as flood waters rose.

After wading through the water, HFD requires that firefighters turn in all their gear to be cleaned and tested for bacteria, as flood water is incredibly dirty. Joseph Medina recalls that they would tell residents who lived in apartment buildings to go to a higher floor if the water was rising and wait for a boat. On the third day, Thomas Wolcott remembers being sent to Dobie High School to provide medical services to evacuees at the shelter. Medina says that he felt more prepared for Harvey because unlike previous floods that were sudden and unexpected, they were able to plan for this flood. He also agrees that the city is more prepared for future floods as they have added more boats and high water vehicles to their fleet. Medina also talks about how he his family called him when water entered their home and about how he was unable to help them. Wolcott and Bailey both mentioned that the most difficult part of the flood was seeing all the things that people lost in the disaster, from homes and cars to memories and valuable possessions. In a separate interview, Erica Czyz recalls being at Sam Houston State University during Hurricane Ike and losing power for more than a week. David Rocha says that before Harvey hit, the fire station made sure that the needed equipment was prepped. Czyz also says that they were called out several times to rescue people from their cars in downtown. During a more minor flood event, the call volume at the first station is around a thousand calls a day. With Harvey, Rocha says they reached that level within two hours. With other floods, the water typically receded within a few hours, but this did not happen with Harvey. The fire station was also short staffed during the flood and this forced them to fight a fire without the proper resources. At the end of the conversation, Chief Don Larson says that he most important thing for residents to do is to get flood insurance.