News Center 7 crew in Texas: Floods frightening, victims so optimistic

Published: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 4:45 PM


            WHIO-TV’s Gabrielle Enright and Chuck Hamlin covered Ohio Task Force 1 on rescue missions in Texas during Tropical Storm Harvey. GABRIELLE ENRIGHT / STAFF
WHIO-TV’s Gabrielle Enright and Chuck Hamlin covered Ohio Task Force 1 on rescue missions in Texas during Tropical Storm Harvey. GABRIELLE ENRIGHT / STAFF

News Center 7 reporter Gabrielle Enright and photographer Chuck Hamlin witnessed firsthand the worst of Mother Nature and the best of the human spirit as they reported about Hurricane Harvey in Texas the last week.

Enright and Hamilin traveled with Ohio Task Force 1 on previous hurricane deployments — Irene, Gustav, Ike and Matthew — but headed last week to Houston with the Kettering-based rescue team for the biggest storm of their careers.

RELATED: Ohio rescue group evacuates more than 130 from Texas flooding

Here are accounts of their experiences in Houston and Katy, Texas.

Gabrielle Enright

I just couldn’t believe how much water there was. I’d never seen anything like it.

The rain never stopped. Things that looked like they were fine, 10 minutes later they weren’t. Buildings turned into islands.

Ohio Task Force 1 at one point wanted to move us because the water just kept rising. So it was a dangerous situation. It was a very fluid situation. Everything just kept changing. It was interesting and, in some cases, a little frightening.

MORE: How you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey

I never felt in danger because I was with a highly-skilled, trained team. If you’re going to be stuck at a disaster, they are the best people to be with.

Being able to use Twitter and Facebook really changed how I could tell the story. I was able to give people real-time updates, interact with people, and give them things as they were happening instead of hours later. The technology between then and now – the ability to give them real-time information as it’s happening – is incredible.

What made this hurricane different was the spirit of the people in Texas.

I walked into neighborhoods and I would get out of the news van, and people I didn’t know would come up and hug me and just welcome me into their neighborhood. There was not one negative thing that was said, even from people that had lost their home. They were so optimistic, so friendly. They wanted to help us, and we didn’t need anything. We wanted to help them.

MORE: Dayton grad in Houston: ‘I can’t even begin to describe’ Harvey damage

It was the most incredible example of human spirit that I’ve ever seen.

Chuck Hamlin

Lighting is important, sound’s important, but taking you there almost as if you’re in my shoes is the important thing. If we had water on the lens … it was kind of acceptable because it was everywhere.

We had 72 hours of nonstop rain. That was something that was a constant challenge.

We were putting cell phones in Zip-Lock baggies in order to keep the moisture away from them. If you lose that technology, you’re out there doing nothing.

RELATED: Harvey flooding overtakes Cedarville grad’s Houston-area home

I think the whole thing Gabby and I’ve learned by doing so many of these trips is by trial and error – like we always make sure we have hair dryers with us. It’s basically to keep the equipment in working condition if we get it wet.

Everything is just a logistical nightmare from being able to get fuel, to being able to make sure that the truck has the ability to perform. We are driving through water conditions. We are not doing this by ourselves, we are doing this in a convoy with the task force.

It’s kind of daunting driving through some of these roads in this caravan to get to a location you want to be.

The first day we were there, the rains were coming down so heavily the task force came out and said, ‘Listen, it’s not safe for you to come out with us with your vehicle.’ Gabby and I decided we were going to stay behind and do live broadcasts.

MORE: What happened when Bill’s Donuts asked for hurricane donations? THIS!

The next day they offered, ‘If you want to come out with us you can.’ That’s the day we left our satellite truck back at the base of operations, and we rode with them to Houston. We left about 9:30 that morning and we didn’t know exactly what time we were going to get back.

That particular day we … were gone more than 12 hours. At a certain time, we realized we were going to miss our television deadline. We started shooting more on a cell phone . And we had two stories that Gabby had actually edited in her phone and sent through wifi for the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts because we were actually away from the truck.

As strange as it is, we left Houston and we were in Dallas at a shelter, and two individuals we ran into had out a portable barbecue, on a trailer like you see in Dayton. At first I thought, ‘I can’t believe they are trying to sell barbecue to these poor individuals.’ And then they came over to us to say, ‘Hey can you help get the word out that we have free barbecue?’ It was very touching. It wasn’t the most visual thing, but it was my lasting thought of the generosity of the people.

Trending - Most Read Stories

More showers and storms likely to start the week

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 4:50 AM

The first part of your Sunday should be dry, but there is a slight chance for an isolated shower, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. The better chances for more showers and storms returns for the second half of the day. Some of the storms towards evening could be strong to severe with the biggest concerns being strong winds and some hail. Highs today will be in the lower 80s.

WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST:

  • Few P.M. showers and storms today
  • Some could be strong with gusty winds, hail and heavy downpours
  • Dry time returns by Wednesday

DETAILED FORECAST:

5-Day Forecast

Monday: More showers and a few storms are likely to start the work-week. Highs will be in the upper 70s.

Tuesday: A few lingering showers, maybe a few storms are likely for the first part of your day. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

Cloudy with a chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans

Wednesday: It looks like we finally dry things out on Wednesday under partly cloudy skies. Highs again will be in the lower 80s.

Thursday: A little bit more sunshine returns for your day with highs in the lower 80s.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Two people ejected from motorcycle in Shelby Co. crash

Published: Sunday, May 06, 2018 @ 7:00 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 4:25 AM

UPDATE @ 4:25 a.m. (May 20):

Michelle S. McNamara, 28, was listed in serious condition at Miami Valley Hospital after being ejected from a motorcycle in Loramie Twp. May 6.

The driver of the motorcycle, Stephen J. Vennemeyer, 52, was no longer listed as a patient at Wilson Memorial Hospital. His condition was not known.

FIRST REPORT:

Shelby County deputies and the Russia Fire Department responded to a single-vehicle motorcycle crash at the intersection of Russia Houston Road and Russia Rd. early Sunday morning. 

Stephen J. Vennemeyer, 52, and Michelle S. McNamara, 28, were ejected from a black 2016 Kawasaki motorcycle traveling eastbound in the 1000 block of Russia Houston around 12:18 a.m. 

>>Sidney man ID’d as drowning victim pulled from Great Miami River

Vennemeyer over corrected when traveling off the right side of the roadway and then crashed. 

McNamara was transported by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital and is in critical condition. 

Vennemeyer was transported by rescue squad to Wilson Memorial Hospital 

The extent of Vennemeyer's injuries is unknown.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Abandoned car fire under investigation in Montgomery Co.

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 2:32 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 4:00 AM

UPDATE @ 4 a.m.:

An abandoned vehicle found fully engulfed in a gravel lot near the Great Miami River Recreational Trail is under investigation, according to Lt. Nick Carpenter of Bethel Twp. Fire Department.

>>Police: Innocent bystander shot, killed by high-caliber gun in Dayton

A call from a passerby came in around 2:10 a.m. that a Hyundai Veloster was on fire at Old Springfield Road at Old Canal Road.

Bethel Twp. fire along with Vandalia fire and Metro Park Police handled the incident.

Flames were able to be extinguished quickly and the vehicle was towed, according to Carpenter. 

FIRST REPORT:

Emergency crews are responding to a report of a vehicle fire in Vandalia Sunday morning.

>>Miami County woman injured in one-car crash on I-75 in Franklin Twp.

Initial reports state the vehicle is fully engulfed at Old Springfield Road and Old Canal Road.

It’s unknown if the vehicle is occupied at this time.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Thunderbirds to perform for first time since deadly crash

Published: Monday, May 14, 2018 @ 8:49 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 1:51 AM

Thunderbirds to resume flying this weekend

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds are returning to air show performances for the first time since a deadly crash in April. 

>>Thunderbirds cancel more air show performances after deadly crash

The Thunderbirds announced over social media of their upcoming performances May 18-20 at AirPower over Hampton Roads at Join Base Langley Eustis in Virginia.

This will be the first public performance since Maj. Stephen Del Bagno’s death April 4.

USAF Thunderbirds: News Center 7 gets rare look at training grounds

Del Bagno flew Thunderbirds No. 4 jet in the six-aircraft jet team.

He died in a crash over the Nevada desert.

Trending - Most Read Stories