Letcher County firefighter recounts flood survival experience

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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JEREMIAH, Ky. (WYMT) - Bouncing around like an air hockey puck is how Wallace “Spanky” Bolling Jr., the Letcher County Volunteer Fire Dept. chief, described his experience in the flood.

Bolling had left his house to check on the fire station and then got trapped by the water. The flood then took control.

“It picked me and my truck up. And I’m pushed back against this garage. But literally I never locked the wheel on the truck. So I turned the wheel, and I hit that garage,” Bolling said pointing at a structure next to the fire station.

Bolling was then knocked back and forth between the fire station and the cliff, finally hitting the tanker truck. He then shot his gun through the passenger window and climbed out.

“The truck, it landed right here. I mean like right right here. And when I shot, I’m just like diving,” he said standing next to the tanker truck.

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Bolling then sat on the tanker truck for 15 straight hours as water got higher and higher. By the time the flood receded, all he could think about was his fire station, which was destroyed.

“Literally I grew up here. I got so many memories in this place. I found out I was gonna be a father here 17 years ago,” he said.

Bolling said while the station lost all of its vehicles, he is just glad to be alive.

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