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Winn Parish firefighter recounts harrowing rescue in flood waters

Louisiana National Guard

A Winn Parish Fire department station chief is back working rescue calls again just days after one risky high-water rescue turned bad. Buddy King, 34, of Dodson, La., tried to rescue a couple whose home was taking on water Thursday. King and fellow rescuer Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries senior agent Rusty Perry tried to reach the house by boat, but it capsized in swift water. King says they clung to the side of a tree for three hours out of sight from rescuers. King had a waterproof radio to talk to dispatch.

“I just got on the radio and told them I needed help immediately that we had capsized the boat and we were hung in swift water. They immediately started contacting our police jury office, state police and National Guard. They all started coming trying to get us,” King said Saturday, back on the job.

Rescuers tried to reach the pair with a motor grater used to level gravel roads in Winn Parish. It got stuck too, according to King, just out of reach. Ultimately, a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter rescued all involved. King encourages residents to stay off the roads, even though the rain has passed.

“I know everybody wants to go sightseeing and check out all the flooding. This is probably one of the worst floods we’ve ever had in Winn Parish. I advise people to stay home, stay dry, stay safe. Don’t get out. It would make all of the emergency personnel’s jobs a little bit easier,” King said.

King has worked for the Winn Parish Fire Department for 16 years. It marked the first time he needed to be rescued while responding to a call.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.