Junction, TX — October 7th, 2018-- Devastating floods swept through Junction, TX. Water washed away homes and took the lives of four people in their small, close knit community.
Randy Millican is a volunteer with Junction, Texas Sheriffs Department. He explained, "The night of the flood I was the Incident On-scene Commander. When he responded to the call at 5:00 am Monday morning. He had no idea the chaos that was about to unravel.
Millican shared his experiences from that night. He said, "Heavy rain started at about 3 o'clock in the morning. You could hear it coming. Running, roaring water. It's a frightening noise when you hear it. The fact that you're in the business of rescuing people and you can't get to them is very, very frustrating."
Millican started his shift at 2 o'clock the previous day (Sunday). He did not go back home until late Tuesday evening when officials called the search for the day because of darkness. He expressed how he was not the only one who worked tirelessly for days to rescue people. Adrian Condarco, Assistant Chief of the Junction Volunteer fire department was also on the 5 o'clock dispatch call. He explained, "I was home asleep... He says I need help in the RV park. There's quite a few campers in the RV park."
Millican continued to share his experience. He said "We responded here because its the lowest area and its where the river is. You could hear a roaring sound coming from up stream and we knew the river was coming quickly. I got on my siren and the PA and told them to start evacuating immediately. Get to higher ground. Some did... some didn't. Some people didn't want to leave their property because of the things in them or their animals. We were yelling at them telling them that the river was rising."
Condarco went on to say, "When I got here it [the water] was at my ankles. By the time we were through, it was at my pockets. It had been maybe 30 minutes." He explained that eight to ten people didn't get their RV's out in time. "We watched them go under the bridge and under the spillway and beyond that." said Millican. The fire department was able to throw or float life jackets at some people who grabbed them.
911 Recording #1:
"Kimble County 911. Do you have an emergency?"
"Yes I do. I mean, our house is almost completely under water. There is no way we can get out. Our vehicles are floating in front of us. They're floating in front of our house and the water is coming in the back. You can feel the house leaning and there is just no way we can get out."
911 Recording #2:
"Kimble County, what's your emergency?"
"Yes, there's a woman in the flood holding on to a log screaming for help."
Millican recalls a moment he will never forget that night. He explains, "She was just hollering the words help, help, help me and she was shining the light on her cellphone in my direction, or anyone who could see her... And I watched her light just go down the river. I was trying to tell her we're coming, were coming, were coming... But I wasn't. All I could do is stand there and watch. I was disappointed I couldn't do more to help but you immediately go back to what you can do."
Millican says nearly 60 people were rescued and four lost their lives from the floods. Some were rescued by helicopter and boat. Two of the victims were from San Angelo, TX and two were pipe liners from Alabama.
The volunteer for the Sheriff's Office expressed his gratitude for, not only the people in his community but the people across Texas and other states that came through to help in their time of need. Millican said, "The river has always been a vital part of Junction, TX." He goes on to say, "...We're people, we're resilient. We bounce back from things. People helping people, Texans helping Texans. You can't just let one incident define a whole community. We'll move on. We'll get better about it."