Tow truck driver helps rescue woman from flooded Belmont Avenue

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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The heavy rain dumped on the region by Tropical Storm Isaias on led to flooding across the area, including a busy intersection just off the Schuylkill Expressway.

BELMONT HILLS, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The heavy rain dumped on the region by Tropical Storm Isaias on led to flooding across the area, including a busy intersection just off the Schuylkill Expressway.

It looked like river rapids as water gushed down Belmont Avenue at the ramps to I-76 around midday Tuesday.

"In about two minutes, the water just came out of the drainpipe up there and flooded the entire area, and was about three feet high," said Jerry DeFrancesco of Bala Motor Sports, a nearby business.

Two drivers became stranded in the floodwater after two drains became clogged with debris.

Bala Motor Sports employee Rick Ortiz backed up his tow truck to pull one woman to safety.

"The water got so high up. I just came around and said, 'look, I can rescue them because it's getting too crazy,'" Ortiz said.

Soon, Lower Merion firefighters arrived and moved as a team across the engulfed Belmont Avenue. They brought another driver and one of Ortiz's co-workers to safety.

"I work in the office. I saw the water coming high, so that's when I told myself 'I gotta get out of there,'" said Bala Motor Sports employee Maria Oyola.

"They were just terrified. It's crazy because in a matter of seconds if you don't have your windows down you can suffocate, but we got them out so that's all that matters," said Ortiz.

The cleanup followed and Belmont was reopened around 3 p.m. Fortunately, everyone involved was ok.

"That's how I am," Ortiz said. "I don't leave nobody behind."

The Action Cam was in Darby, Pa. where water rose above cars, and the doorways of homes.

Rescuers were seen bringing two children to dry land there.

In Chadds Ford, Delaware County, two vehicles became stranded on Creek Road, not far from Baltimore Pike.

Firefighters used a boat rescued two people from the vehicles.

In Doylestown, Bucks County, the high winds caused damage to Doylestown Hospital, partially tearing the roof off the Children's Village day care. County officials said there were no reports of serious injuries.