LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A Lincoln County man who almost lost his wife in a near-drowning is concerned that a fire department’s lack of training could cost someone their life.
Chris Beeler said his wife was driving in Winfield on a recently lowered road near a creek when she didn’t realize how high the water was. He said he couldn’t help her, so he called 911.
However, when firefighters from the Winfield-Foley Fire Department arrived, Beeler says they didn’t do very much.
“No disrespect to the guys on the scene that night, but maybe the guys don't have the proper training or equipment or know what to do,” he said.
Beeler said it became clear he would have to save his wife himself.
“Basically, the car ripped away and ripped her out of the car, and washed down the creek. She went underwater and I went underwater,” he said.
His wife survived, but her car was later found submerged, filled with thick mud.
Winfield Fire Chief Nathan Schnelle the firefighters tried to make attempts to get in water, going around the flood from the other side.
“I stand behind my guys and what they did, although it wasn't perfect,” said Schnelle.
Schnelle says they are not trained in swiftwater rescue, something he says is expensive and difficult for a volunteer department.
“Dry suits rigging, everything that it takes to have a proper swift water rescue team, we just lack the resources,” he said.
Schnelle said the training is important but said the department has to look into grants to help pay for it.