NORTH CAROLINA -- After a night of little sleep and through spotty cell phone service, FOX 8 caught up with two Northeast Ohio firefighters who are part of Ohio Task Force 1 as they respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Christ Caimi and Brian Harting are from Euclid and Bedford and are part of the elite team.
“Evacuating people out of their homes, people that thought they may be able to make it through the storm, didn’t think the water would get as bad as it did,” said Christ Caimi, a rescue specialist with Ohio Task Force 1.
The rescue team is set up in Lenoir County, North Carolina, and is stationed in Kinston. They are closely watching the Neuse River which is at 21 ft. and is expected to rise four more ft. in the next 24 hours.
“We are still anticipating the worst of the worst as far as the flooding as the storm takes a turn for the north and continues to pour water on the rest of the state. We are downhill and toward the ocean so all that is going to eventually catch up with us here,” said Brian Harting.
In the meantime, Ohio Task Force 1 is still going on search and rescue missions.
“Getting people out of cars, maybe stuck in the water and then going house to house,” said Caimi.
While securing propane tanks at a local restaurant the team found the restaurant’s beloved pet cat and rescued it. The team is preparing to stay in Lenoir County for at least another week, expecting the water to rise to dangerous levels.
“We’re excited to be able to represent the state of Ohio, our families and, you know, help with the residents here that are affected. We train an entire career for this and we are ready to respond and help these people get back on their feet,” Harting said.