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Coming to the rescue

LyondellBasell backs efforts to form Swift Water Rescue Team locally

LyondellBasell is assisting the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District to build its new Swift Water Rescue Team by supplying the department with a $2,000 grant.

On Tuesday, Chief Tracey Steffes received the donation from John Grimmenga, fire chief for the LyondellBasell Morris Complex.

Four Morris firefighters will be receiving water rescue training from Dive Rescue International during sessions being hosted by the Plainfield Fire Department at the end of the month.

“After the high water (during the April flood), we learned there just was not enough resources with the departments to go around,” said Steffes.

With the flooding seen in the area the last several years, the worst being in April, Steffes said Morris was in “desperate need” of its own team.

The April 18 flood caused Morris Hospital to have to evacuate patients and halt patient operations for about two weeks. Area homes and streets were flooded so badly water rescues were performed throughout the county, many on Cemetery Road.

Even LyondellBasell helped respond to flood calls, helping to rescue about four residents and some animals, said Brent Connett, spokesperson for LyondellBasell.

“This contribution reinforces LyondellBasell’s continued commitment to the Morris community,” said Brian Angwin, Morris Complex site manager in a press release. “We are pleased to support the fire district in their efforts to help our neighbors if they are affected by flooding.”

To better prepare the city for the future, Morris is creating its own water rescue team that will eventually be made up of 8 to 10 firefighters. The first four to undergo the training will be Tyler Poffenbarger, Jordan Bruyn, Rob Blair and Eric Larson.

The grant from LyondellBasell will go toward the cost of their water rescue suits and some equipment.

The Morris department already has two boats, but its larger one is about 14 years old and will need to be replaced within five years. Steffes said he is working on researching grants to help purchase the next boat.

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