12 years after Katrina, SA fire chief recalls similarities to Harvey
On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana leading to a flooding catastrophe in New Orleans that was eerily similar to what's happening in Houston.
12 years ago San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood was right in the middle of Katrina rescue efforts.
Two years before he came to San Antonio, Chief Hood was on a special response team sent to New Orleans. He says valuable lessons were learned that are saving lives in Houston right now.
"You always think you've seen it all but I do think this hurricane is going to produce more water, hopefully not as many fatalities. I do think we've learned a great deal on how to manage large scale incidents," Hood said.
Chief Hood took many photos of widespread destruction in New Orleans, after the storm, and collapsed levies, left the city submerged.
"I briefed Mayor Nagin, I worked with Thad Allen during that time to coordinate the rescues," Hood recalled.
Hood says the death toll was greater in New Orleans, more than 1,800, because many people had returned home thinking they were safe. Only to be caught by surprise when the levies gave way.
“We'd already picked people up off of roofs, now we had to go in and cut holes in the attics and we continued to pull people out up to 12 days after the incident. Unfortunately, we also found people that did not survive," Hood said.
Chief Hood took a picture of one house where four people were found dead. The haunting pictures show what rescuers can expect in Houston when the waters finally recede.
The image Hood remembers most shows a huge barge that crashed through a levy and lodged in the front door of a home in the 9th ward.
“I never thought I was going to see something worse than Katrina but in the back of my mind you never know what mother nature is capable of," Hood said.
Chief Hood says this time more hospitals and nursing homes were evacuated ahead of the storm, a big lesson they learned. He also says President Trump flying into Corpus Christi instead of Houston was a good call. When President Bush visited New Orleans hood, Hood says it disrupted rescue operations.