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Driver rescued by firefighters after trying to drive through underpass that constantly floods

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:33 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge firefighters rescued someone after they got stuck trying to drive through a flooded underpass.

It happened over the weekend on Chippewa Street near Exxon.

It’s one of the usual problem spots that frequently takes on water in Baton Rouge. Like along Bluebonnet Boulevard, where someone died during flash flooding back in May of 2021.

If you drive up to the Chippewa Underpass during or right after a heavy rain, chances are you’ll see ‘road closed’ and ‘high water’ signs, blocking you from passing through.

“It’s constant, it’s constant. Every time it rains, you know, just another thing,” said Jake Spears, owner of J&S Tire & Services.

Spears has owned his tire shop right next to the underpass for 13 years now.

“Every time it rain, it floods out up underneath that underpass there. And cars go down there, and they have to rescue them out of there,” said Spears.

In fact, you could see a truck floating in the high-water Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s terrible. And they need to do something about it,” said Spears.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department had to rescue someone from the roof of their truck this past weekend.

“They tried to extend the ladder truck to get the person back. Weren’t able to do that. So they went ahead and inflated a 5 inch section of hose and were able to float that out there, along with a firefighter and another flotation device to get the motorist back,” said Justin Hill with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.

Thankfully, the person was not injured.

Their truck, however, well that’s a different story.

“It’s crazy. No they shouldn’t take a chance like that, no. Lord have mercy,” said one driver.

“They need to fix this issue, yes,” said another driver.

The underpass is owned by the state.

A spokesperson with DOTD tells WAFB, there are no plans in the works to fix the ongoing flooding issues at the location yet.

“It can happen anywhere if you have a large amount of water coming down at one time. And if there’s standing water and you don’t know how deep it is, it’s best to find an alternate route,” said Hill.

And who knows what was in that water. The truck may now need some new tires from Mr. Spears, who says he’s always there to help.

“I’ll fix him up. I guarantee all my patches, if I fix a flat for you and it goes down, I’ll fix it over. But, not for the same hole. It’s got to be another nail,” said Spears.

BRFD credits lots of training, which allowed them to make this rescue Saturday.

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