Panama City Fla. (KLTV) - Ryan Nichols, the man who went viral setting dogs free from a cage in rising water, is helping people in another hurricane. This time, he has his father by his side.
They arrived at the devastation late Wednesday night. Their path was blocked by many downed trees. They met up with others who also went to help, and Ryan ended up with a local’s man’s chainsaw.
“He went and grabbed a Cat, a Caterpillar, and then left it with me to go oil up and I started cutting trees in the middle of the road. Next thing you know, he’s just trying to get home, and he was gone. We were in here doing rescues and using the chainsaw to cut trees around midnight,” Nichols said.
They of course want to give the chainsaw back. They were eventually able to clear a path to Panama City where they slept in Ryan’s truck.
In the morning they coordinated with local first responders and were given an assignment.
“There’s a lady that’s trapped in her house, the roof’s off. We’re having to cut the trees out of the road so we can get them in their car, get them out,” Ryan said.
Buildings all around them were torn apart, like the local Goodwill, but there was more danger than that.
“There’s a natural gas line that’s also busted,” Nichols revealed.
He spoke with emergency workers who said it would be quite a while until that could be taken care of, and to stay clear of it.
“As you can see, it’s quiet. Nobody can really get out and do anything. We have helicopters going overhead doing rooftop rescues,” Nichols stated.
Ryan said it’s not because of high water, but because debris is blocking many roads. He said first responders were present but spread pretty thin.
“We’re one of the first crews going in and we’ve got a team assembled right behind us, just going and doing medical calls,” Ryan explained.
By the time he and his father got to the home, they found the woman who had been reportedly trapped inside had made it out. Ryan also said he was surprised at how many people didn’t evacuate, thinking it was just another storm that would be easy to ride out.
Water had receded quickly and Ryan said he didn’t use the boat they had towed. He also said there was looting going on, much of it for food.
Ryan Nichols is the man who rescued several dogs from drowning in a viral video shot after Hurricane Florence. Before that he was flooded out in Hurricane Harvey, and helped people who were affected by that hurricane. After Harvey he moved to Longview and is continuing his rescue efforts.
After responding to the trapped person call, Nichols and his father spent some time helping first responders get storm victims loaded onto helicopters. Ryan and his father will continue doing whatever they can to help in areas affected by Hurricane Michael.