S.C. State Fire sends firefighters to help with Laura’s aftermath

SC USAR Task Force in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - It is day one of recovery for people in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning and unleashed harsh wind, rain and storm surge on the state.

But on day one of recovery, firefighters from across South Carolina were already ready to help.

“We actually deployed them first. They were requested by the state of Louisiana, to assist them with coordinating search and rescue,” State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones said.

Several local firefighters headed to the Gulf Coast, including six Horry County Fire Rescue members, three Myrtle Beach Fire Department members, one member of the Conway Fire Department and one member of the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department.

In the initial aftermath of the first major hurricane of the season, the destruction is so widespread that outside help is needed.

A team of nearly 60 firefighters from across the Palmetto State has arrived in Louisiana to start searching for survivors of Laura’s category 4 strength.

Despite warnings of ’unsurvivable’ storm surge, dozens of people in the Cameron Parrish, which is where Laura made landfall, decided to stay. Jones said his team is already on the ground and hard at work helping people.

“We’ve already got teams that are pushing out into those affected areas. When you’re talking about 150 mph winds, that alone causes catastrophic damage,” he added.

Jones said they’re ready for everything from water rescues to searching houses and other buildings.

He added that South Carolina has a strong relationship with fire teams in Louisiana, coming to each other’s help when the time comes.

“Louisiana came and helped us with over 200 boat teams during Hurricane Florence, they came and helped us last year during Hurricane Dorian. We were actually down here last year for Hurricane Barry and assisted them with our incident report team for Barry, and of course, if we have something in South Carolina we’ll call them and come and help return the favor,” he said.

Jones said the team is prepared to stay for 14 days.

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