Zachary is far removed from the flooding and damage left in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, but Fire Department Chief Danny Kimble said a team of his firefighters are on the ground in the Carolinas saving lives and aiding those still in harm’s way.
Kimble said the department contributed two trucks and two boats to the rescue efforts along with four firefighters who have been deployed to the Carolinas until the disaster area is stable. Deputy Chief Jimbo Nolan is leading the Zachary deployment along with firefighters Austin Porche, Chase Lord and Gordon Segraves.
Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane the morning of Sept. 14, over Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina border. Before landfall, it reached Category 4 status but weakened as it came ashore with 90-mph winds and deadly storm surge. State and national officials said, as of Monday, 32 deaths have resulted from the storm.
Zachary’s firefighters are part of Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2 and will serve in South Carolina assisting in storm rescue and recovery. Task Force 2 consists of members of the Baton Rouge, Zachary, Eastside, Central and West Baton Rouge fire departments, along with East Baton Rouge EMS. Kimble said the group’s end of deployment is still undetermined.
Training began long before this threat formed and has been ongoing for several years. Last month, the Zachary Fire Department took part in a training on Surface Water Rescue and Boat Operations hosted in Zachary. Participating departments included the Baton Rouge, Central and Slaughter fire departments. The Aug. 29 class was training for different water rescue operations like what the deployed task force is doing in the Carolinas.
Kimble reflected on the 2016 floods that devastated the surrounding areas and said he can see how those experiences helped identify needs and prepared his department to play a role in a national life-saving effort. “During the 2016 floods, we received help (and) greatly appreciated it, and we now take every opportunity to give back to other cities.”