Houston rescue crews in Florida to help with Hurricane Ian's aftermath: 'We're in this together'

Daniela Hurtado Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Houston rescue crews in Florida ready to help with hurricane aftermath
Severeal Houstonians are already in Florida, ready to help in any way they can with Hurricane Ian's aftermath.

ORLANDO, Florida (KTRK) -- Hundreds of volunteers from Houston are in place, ready to help Floridians as they wait to see the damage Hurricane Ian has left behind.

Volunteers with the Texas Gulf Coast branch of the American Red Cross have arrived in Orlando and many more are heading east.

The spokesperson told ABC13 there are more than 500 volunteers stretched out throughout the sunshine state in more than 200 shelters. They confirm more than 13,000 Floridians stayed at one of the shelters.

Nathan Brownell, the director of Distribution Operations and Control with CenterPoint Energy, said their crews from Houston are set in place to help restore power to Floridians.

"It's very serious. Our prayers go out to the families that are there and we look forward to helping in any way possible," Brownell said.

The director of Texas A&M Task Force 1 Jeff Saunders said their team of 45 people, including four Houston firefighters, are in the Florida panhandle awaiting their FEMA orders.

"There's rescue people. There's search folks. We have four K9 teams, half of those are life find that are looking for survivors. And as in most instances, where we go, we also take human remains K9s with us as well," Saunders said.

"Some day, we're going to have to call out for help and we know our peer in utilities will return the favor," Brownell said.

It's help that Saunders and Brownell said Houston received in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey devastated our community.

"In this particular case, the teams in Florida helped us during Hurricane Harvey. So the governor felt compelled to return the favor so that we can go and assist them in their time of need as well," Saunders said.

Wednesday night, Houstonians in Florida including Red Cross spokesperson Brittney Rochell have a message for Floridians:

"We're in this together. We're here to support you. We will get through. It's going to be a long recovery process, but the Red Cross will be by you every step of the way,"' Rochell said.

It's a message of support and a message that help is on the way for people across Florida.

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