Northeast Ohio first responders help with Harvey relief as part of Ohio Task Force 1

Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 17:56:20-04

Part of the local response to Hurricane Harvey relief has come from Ohio Task Force 1.

On Thursday, News 5 spoke with three of its members over FaceTime before they headed out for another long day of rescue efforts.

“So far we've done a lot of water rescue operations,” explained Euclid Fire Captain Chris Caimi. “We've been going through communities that are flooded to see if anybody needs help getting out of their homes or anything they need in the area.”

Ohio Task Force 1 is no stranger to disaster response, but the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is unlike anything they -- or the nation -- has ever seen.

“We deployed, actually all three of us were deployed on the last deployment and it's kind of you go, go, go to get there and then you just keep going and rolling with the punches,” said Capt. Caimi.

Earlier this week, the team helped rescue 105 residents from a nursing home. They were just some of the hundreds of rescues they've been a part of.

The support they have been getting from the community while deployed has made their mission a little easier.

“They've been offering us food, socks, underwear, towels,” noted Lt. Josh Compton with the City of Green Fire Department. “You name it, they're offering it to us. They also, as we drive down the road, they give us thumbs up and they've been great.”

“Houston Fire has one guy on a boat, then all the other boats are civilians, so civilians are really stepping up and helping out a ton in the area,” added Capt. Caimi.

The huge need means long, grueling days and hardly any sleep, but that's not what they are focused on.            

“When we get home, we'll rest,” Capt. Caimi said. “But while we're here, we're just trying to help out.”

Meantime, their message back home to Ohio is simple.

“Be thankful for what you have,” said Capt. Caimi. “It makes us all think about what we have, you know. We're all very fortunate.”

“Shout-out to all our wives,” added Richard Huggins with the New Franklin Fire Department. “We're all three married with kids at home and they're holding it down pretty good there.”

The team is scheduled for at least a 14 day deployment, but could be there longer depending on need.