SULLIVAN: We were assigned a call to go out near Paragon Mills in South Nashville, off Nolensville Road. They had a section of Mill Creek that had topped its bank. When we got there, it was more of a lake than a creek; there was some significant current; there were a lot of vehicles stranded right out in the middle of the section of roadway, and a handful of them were completely covered.
We had to deploy the boat into the water, from just basically the road as it descended into the water, which was somewhat difficult; once we got in the water, we had problems with guardrails hitting the props and trying to get to the boat once we, or trying to get to the car. Once we got to cars, we had to figure out if anyone was inside them.
PILCHER: Did you find anybody in them?
SULLIVAN: No, none that were overtaken with water, but we did find an individual trapped in some type of a construction truck and we had to get him out of the cab and bring him to the shoreline.
At the same time this was going on after we’d cleared all the cars in the area, and the police department was there to shut down the streets, we had another call that had gone out to a trailer home park that was a little further south of Nashville. It was also by Mill Creek and it had also been flooding and in fact a pair of police officers that were caught in the flood water.
And we had heard one of our officers, Captain Crane, he was hollering over the radio, “Code 5000”: that’s “officer down”, that means it’s life threatening. And what had happened—
PILCHER: Was it him?
SULLIVAN: It was him. They were in one of the rescue 1 boats, which was a flat bottom, aluminum hull boat and they had struck a fire hydrant with the prop. It completely disabled the motor and then their boat slammed into a trailer home. The boat then began to flip over, and they had to jump on top of the trailer home in order to prevent from getting trapped into the boat as it flipped over. And then shortly thereafter, the trailer home lifted up and began floating away. To prevent from it from toppling over, they had to jump into a nearby tree. And it took a little while before we could get a boat out to them, but we were able to get them out of the tree safely.
PILCHER: How many other people were with him?
SULLIVAN: He was trapped on the trailer with a diver named Pyatt. I’m not exactly certain, I think there were maybe 4 or 5 other people out there with him. It was just chaotic trying to figure out where they were because the trailer had actually drifted somewhat far away, so they had to figure out where he was and if it was safe to try to get to him. And we finally got to him.