Missouri Task Force 1 rescuing residents in Houston area

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Some of the evacuations and water rescues in Texas are being handled by elite teams from across Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

Missouri Task Force 1 (MO-TF1) made more than 300 water rescues and evacuations in just a short period of time Monday.

And their work is far from over.

“We have all six boats on the water, with swift water rescue technicians, and boat operators working as fast and as hard as they can,” Boone County Fire Protection District Asst. Chief Gale Blomenkamp said.

Missouri Task Force 1 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams in the country, specialized to assist in disasters in Missouri and in other states.

“We have people from Springfield, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, Kansas City, the central part of Missouri. Big team, so literally, people from all across the state,” Blomenkamp said.

Forty-seven members of the 210-member team were dispatched to Texas. The group arrived last Friday and will stay on the ground for up to 14 days, Blomenkamp said.

“The guys are working well. They’re enthusiastic, they’re glad to be helping the citizens of Texas. That’s what they went down there for, and that’s what they’re prepared to do.”

The work days are long and arduous. The team has been working to get people out of their homes and to safe locations, where they can seek shelter at higher ground.

The first responders are assigned to Houston Fire Department Number 78, which is west of downtown Houston.