New York Task Force 1 In North Carolina

Mike Smeltz/WCBS 880

NYC Search And Rescue Force Heads To Florence-Battered North Carolina

September 18, 2018 - 3:16 pm

NEW BERN, N.C. (WCBS 880) -- A search and rescue task force from New York City is down in North Carolina, going into the most dangerous areas to save people’s lives.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, members of New York Task Force 1 came to Florence-battered New Bern and attacked a 60-foot tree that fell over onto a flooded-out home.

They’re surgically chain-sawed the limbs of the tree, trying to get it to a place so they could pull it off the home and not bring down the power lines.

Florence: Storm Damage In New Bern, North Carolina
Mike Smeltz/WCBS 880

The other members dragged away the discarded limbs, piling them up in a safe place.

Tasha Franks’ mother lives in the house that was left covered by the tree, and Franks was absolutely floored to see the bright blue letters NYPD on her mom’s block.

“NYPD is in my yard!” she said.

When Smeltz noted that it was not very common, Franks added, “No it’s not, but this is the only way they’re coming, because they ain’t coming for nothing else!”

The New York Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team is made up of NYPD and FDNY members who are called into action by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deal with emergencies like Florence.

Their work in North Carolina included the lifesaving rescue of a man in a wheelchair who was trapped by floodwaters.

The team also got into a flooded house to get a man’s medication.

“We had an older gentleman that we had picked up in our craft and had advised us that some very expensive cancer medication was back at his home. His home was probably under about anywhere from 6 to 8 feet of water in different places. We took our boat and him back to his home,” said a task force member.

In the house, many items were floating and spiders and fire ants were crawling around. But the team made it in and found the medication.

As of Tuesday, former Hurricane Florence had claimed at least 26 lives.