Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews assist in Houston relief efforts

HOUSTON, Texas (WSVN) – More than 40 men and women from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue are assisting in rescue efforts during the aftermath of Harvey’s rampage in Houston.

MDFR Capt. Michelle Steele said their mission to help the flooded city was not an easy journey.

“Trying to figure out from one minute to the next what roads were open, what were closed, what were passable,” said Steele.

She said the journey could be downright dangerous at times.

“You could see the water literally rising,” said Steele, “so it got to the point where we realized we would have to back up.”

Eventually, dozens of men and women from MDFR made it to Houston, Texas to save lives.

It was a life-threatening task to head down the flooded streets, but it was a mission the first responders were honored to carry out.

“We’re just very happy to be here and very eager to start our rescue mission here in Texas,” said MDFR Lt. Ryan Townsend.

Crews brought everything they might need to the disaster scene — from trucks to boats to power tools.

Annie, a dog trained as part of the task force, also put her nose to the rescue.

“We bring Annie. Basically, as you can see, the task force — we come equipped with whatever we may possibly need. And the dog — my dog — alerts to live human scent,” said Alvaro Renteria of MDFR.

The team isn’t alone. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is also in Houston going street-to-street, door-to-door, with flat bottom boats and airboats to rescue families with young children and the elderly.

Dramatic photos showed Floridians on the ground in the Greater Houston area as they saved lives.

This isn’t the first time Florida Task Force One has responded to a natural disaster outside of the Sunshine State.

“Katrina would probably be the closest to what our members are expressing as far as experience-wise,” said Townsend.

Even through the tragedy, crews are able to see rays of hope.

“What has impacted us a great deal is the happiness and appreciation for when we come,” said Townsend, “and everyone with a thumbs up and offering us thank yous. So that’s impacted us a great deal in a positive way.”

The team members said they have enough equipment and supplies to stay in Houston for the next two weeks. They also said they’re ready to move to the Beaumont, Port Arthur and Louisiana area if their services are needed there.

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