Central Texas first responders brave icy roads to keep Central Texans safe and healthy

Waco police officers
Posted at 3:09 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 17:09:49-05

After nearly 48 hours of poor road conditions and dozens of accidents, first responders were able to take a bit of a sigh of relief on Friday afternoon.

Last February was tough for emergency room and urgent care nurse Brittany Chupik.

"Our hotel ran out of power, we had no food. It was a nightmare," she said.

While the lights stayed on this year, the winter storm still brought quite a bit of activity to Premier ER in Waco.

"We've had several falls, some random injuries because the ice was more slick than people thought it was going to be," she said.

Chupik was one of many essential workers across Central Texas who had no choice but to brave the roads.

Police and fire departments have been out assisting with dozens of accidents since early Thursday morning. Not even their vehicles were exempt from dealing with poor road conditions.

"We have all-wheel-drive SUVs and we're having to slip, trying to go to help people," said Abraham Esqueda, Waco police officer.

This was the first storm Esqueda and his brother, Manuel, also on the police force, had to deal with as officers.

"We know that people don't necessarily have every tool available to them for this situation, so we try to be there for them and assist in every way that we can," Manuel Esqueda said.

While conditions improved during the day on Friday, Trent Parker, batallion chief with the Killeen Fire Department, told 25 News the effects of the storm aren't over just yet. The department had received multiple calls regarding bursting water pipes as of this afternoon.

"We will probably see an increase in those for the next 24, 48 hours as well," Parker said.

For first responders, the call to help people is well worth the challenges of a winter storm.

"Knowing that we're gonna do a lot of good for a lot of people, it's just a great day to come to work," Parker said.