CROSS PLAINS (WKOW) — Cross Plains saw some of the highest rain totals in the storms that brought the first round of historic flooding to South Central Wisconsin.
As water filled the streets the night of August 20th, it became more and more difficult for first responders to rescue those stranded in the waters.
That’s where Pete Kraemer came in. The Mazomanie man said he came to Cross Plains that night to check in on his business, PT Firearms. On the treacherous journey, he said took the only vehicle he deemed safe, his five-ton military truck.
“It was like crossing an ocean,” he said. “There were times I couldn’t see any road or anything. The wind was blowing and it was raining.”
When he learned his business was safe, he said he was about to go home until he had this exchange with Cross Plains Officer Scott Kroetz.
“Hey, you wanna be a hero since you got a five-ton military truck?” Kroetz asked.
“Yeah, I got time for that,” Kraemer replied.
With that, the two went off. First they rescued a woman from the top of a sinking vehicle. Then, they went down Brewery Street to rescue people from their homes as the water crept up. In total, Kroetz said they rescued about 20.
“Some were yelling, some were screaming, some were smiling, some were so emotional that they were being rescued,” he said.
Jasmine Green said she lives on Brewery Street and while she evacuated before the water got too high, she said she was able to see her neighbors ride Kraemer’s truck to safety.
“Anything could have happened,” she said. “They could have drowned and they risked their lives to save other people’s lives.”
Cross Plains Police decided it was a feat worthy of a citizens award. They presented a plaque to Kraemer earlier this month, something he called embarrassing, but a nice gesture.
“I’m not a hero I just had an opportunity to help so I did,” he said.
More on this story at WKOW 27 News