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Missouri Task Force 1 Integral part of Irma rescue efforts

ST. LOUIS – A small team from Missouri is once again playing a big role in hurricane recovery efforts.

These elite first responders, known as Missouri Task Force 1, helped with hundreds of rescues after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Now, many of those same members are in the Florida area.

“Our guys are playing a big role, that’s for sure,” said Gale Blomenkamp, Assistant Chief of the Boone County Fire Protect District.

The group is taking part in search and rescue type missions. And while some of the work is similar to Harvey, the environment and conditions are very different.

“Texas was a true flooding event in Houston. Door-to-door by boat. Going up and down streets. This is more of a wind issue and a structural damage issue. And then just the sheer difficulty of making access to those islands,” Blomenkamp said.

Altogether, 12 members of Missouri Task Force 1 were deployed to St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Georgia.

“It’s got to be done, and that’s what these people do. They train for it. They’re the best of the best. And that’s why they’re down there,” Blomenkamp said.