97-year-old recounts being saved from home by AFD after days with no power, heat


AUSTIN (KXAN) — At 97 years old, Ruth Borinstein is as gritty as they come.

“You can see she is doing great now,” said Sandra Borinstein, Ruth’s daughter-in-law.

Flashback to last week and Ruth was stuck in her home with no power and no heat. The roads too icy to get out and too dangerous for anyone to come get her.

“In normal times it is hard to get up my driveway,” Ruth said. “This driveway is one of the worst in Westlake Hills and everyone hates it.”

The weather trapped Ruth inside her home for two days

“The house was like an ice cube,” Ruth said. “It was so cold I could barely, well as much as I like to talk, I could hardly talk.”

Bob Nicks with the Austin Fire Department knew conditions would leave people in trouble, so he gave out his personal number on KXAN News Today.

“I got 400 calls in two days,” Nicks said.

Borinstein was one of the many who reached out for help.

“We called him and he said, ‘Yes, we can do this,'” Sandra said.

Nicks then called Aaron Hooser. Hooser, a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department, spent all night working. When his shift ended and he was off duty, he still answered the call.

“I was like ‘OK, we have power and everything I can still go back and help,'” Hooser said.

In a truck with four wheel drive, he and his girlfriend set out to save Ruth.

“The front of the house it was covered in snow and there was a pretty steep hill,” Hooser said.

The hill didn’t stop the couple from getting to Ruth. They not only helped Ruth, but they were also able to save both her cats and bring them along as well.

They dropped Ruth off at her granddaughter’s house where she stayed until the roads were drivable again.

“We just wanted to help out however we could,” Hooser said.

Bob said the volunteers who stepped up to help were able to transport about 100 people.

Nicks said many of the people who called had already tried 911, but were unable to get through.

In a statement to KXAN, an Austin Police Department spokesperson said, “911 saw a dramatic increase in calls last week some callers had to wait on hold until an operator was available to answer the call. The 911 operators answered every call received unless the caller disconnected.”

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