How local rescue crews are helping during historic Virginia, West Virginia floods

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Historic floods in West Virginia washed away homes, trapped hundreds of people, and claimed at least 20 lives. The Elkview River rose 27 feet in a matter of hours.

Across the state line in Virginia, major flooding in Botetourt and Alleghany Counties compelled emergency responders from Central Virginia to respond.

"It was very far out of the banks into the streets, they were having to close streets off it was going into the buildings of the county," Tommy Tucker, acting Battalion Chief with Chesterfield Fire and EMS, said.

He, along with 15 other members of his department, responded to flooded areas of Virginia.

They left just after midnight Friday and arrived at about 4:30 a.m.

"The adrenaline was going, you’re going to help other firefighters, other citizens so you’re excited about that." Tucker said.

The crew returned home Friday afternoon after they were relieved from their duties.

While they didn’t have to make any rescues, Tucker said teams from Harrisonburg and Bristol assisted in West Virginia and saved roughly 70 lives.

"Swift water is very dangerous. You don’t know what type of debris is in the water, what types of dangers are in the water that could snag you could drown you," Tucker said.

Tucker said the debris infested waters will make its way to Richmond this weekend and people need to be careful.

"Unless you have a permit and are very experienced to be on the James you should not [go into the water]. There is so much debris in the water it’s so dangerous,” Tucker said.

Emergency responders from a variety of other Central Virginia departments, including Henrico, Hanover, Caroline, and Richmond, are also helping manage flood rescue and recovery efforts in Virginia.