Shortcomings of Houston Fire Department Exposed by Harvey

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says he already sees where he could have done things differently during Hurricane Harvey, including calling in about 500 extra firefighters, as an internal review of his department’s response to the storm’s floods is underway.

Pena also tells the Houston Chronicle the department needs more boats and high-water rescue vehicles.

The newspaper says its review of internal reports and emails in addition to interviews with firefighters and others found firefighters in late August were hobbled by a lack of resources, old equipment and a shortage of manpower.

Pena defends the response and commends firefighters, who performed 7,000 rescues and answered more than 15,000 calls for help in the storm’s first five days. But he also acknowledges Harvey exposed shortcomings in the department’s fleet and training.


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