Houston Fire Department saves 7,000+ people, takes 13,000+ calls

Houston's fire department prepared Thursday to begin a block-by-block search of thousands of flooded homes in a city wrecked by Harvey, as the official death toll from the storm climbed to at least 31.

The city's assistant fire chief, Richard Mann, said his department would ensure "no people were left behind."

Farther east, Beaumont and Port Arthur struggled with rising water after being pounded with what remained of the weakening storm.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña announced on Wednesday that HFD had handled at least 13,000 calls.

The department has rescued more than 7,000 Harvey flood victims throughout the greater Houston area.

Adding to the stress of endless high water rescues, a large fire broke out in downtown Houston Monday at the Lone Star Legal Aid Office on Fannin near Bell.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.

Firefighters are working double shifts with barely any rest to make sure no one is left behind.

HFD recently added a new high-water rescue vehicle to its resources before Harvey hit the Houston area.

It's currently operating with six owned by the city.

Fire departments from all over the area and the country have come to the aid of the Houston Fire Department in an incredible demonstration of unity.

Meanwhile, fires and two explosions rocked a chemical plant northeast of Houston early Thursday.

Fire authorities said the blasts at the Arkema Inc. plant were small and that while some deputies suffered irritated eyes from the smoke, the materials that caught fire shortly after midnight are not toxic.

Further east, dozens fire trucks were spotted heading to Port Arthur and Beaumont to continue their tireless work to save the lives of victims there.