Family of 7 rescued from rooftop in Overland Park with military-grade truck

Posted at 8:29 AM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 23:19:03-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — After escaping to their rooftop and waiting hours to be rescued, one Overland Park family is continuing to clean up after storm waters swept through their home early Tuesday morning. 

“I don’t know how long it will take to fix all of this. We have a lot to do,” said Emiliano Yepez-Martinez. 

Yepez-Martinez gave 41 Action News a look inside his now disheveled home. Tuesday night thick, wet mud still caked the floor and his furniture was still saturated with water. 

Outside, was better. Yepez-Martinez owns his own landscaping business. The flood destroyed most of his equipment. 

MORE | Full recap of flash flooding in KC metro 

The flood

Just before 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Yepez-Martinez said he first woke up to the rain and noticed flood waters pouring into his home. 

He decided to go outside, grab a ladder, and make everyone climb up onto the roof. 

“It was already too late to take anything out. It was already up to our ankles,” said Yahir Vanvollenhoven, one of the seven people who evacuated the home. 

The family brought cell phones and blankets to the roof. They were able to call 911. 

I was hoping for the best “for my house and for my family, for us,” said Yepez-Martinez.



The rescue

According to the Overland Park Fire Department, crews were dispatched to the area but “had concerns” about the fast-moving current of the flood waters. 

The Fire Department said since the family was in no immediate danger on the roof, crews decided to wait until the water receded and slowed down. 

Yepez-Martinez and his family waited almost eight hours to be rescued by Spencer Sherf and Cyrus Dawson, two private citizens with a military-grade truck. 

“Cyrus gave me the call and said, ‘Hey, I think I am going to take the Hemtt out there and try and rescue this family’ and I said ‘Alright let’s go do it,’” Sherf said. 

Dawson, who works in construction, told 41 Action News he bought the 40,000 pound the Oshkosh Hemtt at an auction. 

“Didn’t have a good reason at the time but I’ve used it a lot since then,” he said. 

Tuesday that vehicle became the vessel for a rescue mission— one Yepez-Martinez is forever thankful for. 

“They are very good,” Yepez-Martinez said. “They showed up and they helped us.” 

There is a GoFundMe set up to help the family.