Local rescue crews return home from Harvey aftermath

- It was a warm welcome home Thursday evening for the firefighters of Task Force 5 who arrived back to their families after two long weeks in Houston.

“I am so excited its been like 13 days since I’ve seen my dad,” 7-year old, Toby Rundle, said as she finally got to hug her dad hello.

“I’m here, I’m home and I’m happy they are here,” rescue specialist, Kent Rundle, said.

The task force made up of a 45 member team was deployed to Houston after Hurricane Harvey at FEMA’s request.

“We are leaving in two and half hours, meet at headquarters at 10:30 at night,” Obet Martinez, hazmat specialist, remembered about getting the call. “I jumped off the couch told my girlfriend goodbye and we were gone.”

When they arrived to hard hit Houston, the team got right to work rescuing more than 600 people from the floodwaters with the help of boats and search dogs.

“The entire team pulled together and made a difference,” Doug Van Iwaarden, K-9 search specialist, said. “The guys put in extremely long hours working in horrible situations sometimes without a sleeping bag at night, without food for days and sleeping on the floor of a church.”

On Thursday evening, Task Force 6 also arrived home in Riverside after a thirteen day deployment.

“We were all side by side digging deep in those trenches and trying to make difference,” Capt. Chuck Tasker, City of Riverside Fire Department, said.


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