Central Texas first responders come to the rescue with Hurricane Ida relief efforts

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Firefighters and rescue crews from Central Texas are still helping with Hurricane Ida relief efforts almost one month since the storm made landfall.

A strike team, comprised of engines from the Round Rock, Kyle and Austin Fire Departments, plus Travis County ESD 1 and Bexar County ESD 7, deployed to Louisiana to help with relief efforts. Travis County ESD 1 Fire Chief Donnie Norman said the latest Strike Team’s leader came from his department.

The Austin Fire Department deployed an additional four-member crew to Louisiana to swap duties with AFD firefighters who were assisting already, according to a press release from the department. The original nine-person crew returned to Austin Monday.

The four AFD members took over duties of AFD Engine 78 include Lieutenants Kier Nixon, Mike Scott, Dave Dickerson and Fire Specialist Brian Wolske. They are currently stationed in Bayou Cane, Louisiana and carried out their first orders of business as part of the procession for a fallen police officer.

Some of the tasks the members of AFD Engine 78 helped with included handing out supplies to those affected by the devastation left by Ida and working with the Red Cross in passing out care kits.

  • AFD Engine 78 assisting with unloading food and water brought in from Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • AFD's Engine 78 crew assisted a citizen with unloading a generator from their vehicle. (Photo credit: Fire Specialist Kim Ehardt/Austin Fire Department)
  • Group discussion on how best to divide up the food for the families in need and control the traffic. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • AFD's Engine 78 crew assisting Red Cross with handing out 192 care kits. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • Fire Specialist Kim Ehardt placing tarps on the roof of a St John's Parish volunteer fire station in Pleasure Bend. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • Rollover wreck. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • AFD's Engine 78 crew assisting with handing out more than 500 tarps to cover damaged roofs. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)
  • AFD Engine 78 and St John's Parish Engine 91 on scene of an oven fire. (Photo credit: Lt. Jason Rudloff/Austin Fire Department)

As several relief crews from Texas departed earlier this week, Ken Himel, fire chief of the Bayou Cane Fire Protection District, thanked them in a message on Facebook.

“Although we speak of brotherhood in the fire service, they came here as strangers,” Himel wrote. “Today, they left as FAMILY! I cannot begin to thank the members of Texas Task Force 123 enough. They were absolutely top notch firefighters who get it. They are the most selfless individuals I have ever had the privilege of working with. The highest compliment one can receive in the fire service is when someone says, ‘I’d fight fire with you any day!’ On behalf of all of us at BCFD, we’d fight fire with you any day!”

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