The men and women of the urban search and rescue team Washington Task Force 1 showed up to their first mission in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Tuesday morning. The team from Pierce County converged on the Kingwood neighborhood just outside of Houston.
“This is a what we’ve been training all this time for,” said Buck Copsey who is the Task Force Team Leader and a Tacoma firefighter.
“I am proud to be working with you and to take this assignment,” said Copsey to his team Tuesday morning. “I think we will do good work.”
Copsey leads a crew of 17.
“Right now we have a list of five homes that we need to investigate,” he said. “We don’t know if there is one person or there’s a dozen at any of these locations.”
Part of their crew took a handful of boats into the Kingwood neighborhood which, like many other neighborhoods, is paralyzed by the rainfall.
The streets have become unpredictable waterways and obstacle courses of barely visible road signs and fire hydrants. The crew dealt with varying water depth and managed an unfamiliar territory with debris.
The crew made it to the homes of several families. Some families decided to stay in their home and others had already left.
The team of 17 will continue to help out in Houston neighborhoods throughout the week.
“We’re all a team. We might be from a different state, but it’s America. We come do our part,” said Pierce County sheriff’s deputy J. Sausley