Ohio Task Force 1 returns home after 2-week deployment to areas affected by Hurricane Florence

Posted at 10:38 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 23:24:10-04

KETTERING, Ohio -- One of the country’s top urban search and rescue teams is back in the Tri-State this evening after spending 14 days on the Eastern Seaboard helping people who were affected by Hurricane Florence.

It took two pickup trucks, two box trucks and additional support from Columbus to get everything Ohio Task Force 1 needed down to Kinston, North Carolina. 

“We have to work at night,” Covington firefighter Ryan Marzheuser said. “We don’t know the area, how to get there, working with trailers and boats and heavy rain where you can’t see. Roads washed away.”

Marzheuser was called to Hurricanes Sandy and Matthew. He said the rain Florence brought created a unique set of challenges. 

“A lot of water, a lot of rain.” Marzheuser said. “Helping a lot of people out that were stuck in the flash flooding.”

Taskforce commander Jack Reall led the 16-member team through evacuations, rescues, and welfare checks. 

“This is one of the most unusual events I’ve been to in terms of a hurricane because of the length of time it took to get the floods,” Reall said.

The flooding isolated the members of Ohio Task Force 1 for almost four days. 

“Anytime you have water that deep you’re going to encounter areas where water’s not normally at in the trees, heavily forested areas, bridges, a lot of things that make it more dangerous for us,” Reall said. 

Even though they just got home after two straight weeks of hard work, Ohio Task Force 1 is prepared to deploy again if they’re needed.