Cincinnati Fire District 3 Captain Mike Cayse, the Ohio Task Force 1 leader, smiles as he talks with reporters Tuesday night. (FOX19 NOW)
Ohio Task Force 1 unpacks their bus after they arrive home late Tuesday. (FOX19 NOW)
From Top Left: Cincinnati Fire Captain Michael Cayse, Lt. MIchael Lotz, Lt. Jeffrey McDonough, Firefighter Collin Grove (Photo provided by Cincinnati Fire Department)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Ohio Task Force 1 returned home Tuesday night, but they might be going right back into service as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever churns through the Caribbean and heads toward the U.S.
They could head to Florida as soon as 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. The Category 5 Hurricane Irma could make landfall there this weekend, prompting mandatory evacuations that begin Wednesday in the Florida Keys.
If Irma remains as strong as it is now, 80-85 task force members will head South.
"Can't wait, let's go do it again," said Cincinnati Fire District 3 Lt. Mike Lotz, the task force's rescue team manager.
"The guys that do this are not your typical everyday firefighters. they train constantly over and above everything else and they are all the Type A personalities," he said. "It's just like a football player. You don't practice not to get in the game, right? We cant't wait."
"OH-TF1 has been informed that they need to be prepared to redeploy if needed for Hurricane Irma. The team has not received any official orders to deploy," reads the latest post on the urban search and rescue team's Facebook page.
Forty-nine firefighters and paramedics were deployed Aug. 24 to Houston to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. On the way, they stopped to help those in need in Corpus Christi and Katy, Texas.
They responded to several emergency calls around the Houston area, including rescuing elderly from nursing homes and flooded buildings.
Ten local firefighters including four from Cincinnati, made the trip:
Cincinnati Fire District 3 Captain Mike Cayse, the Ohio Task Force 1 leader
Cincinnati Fire District 3 Lt. Mike Lotz, Task Force rescue team manager
Cincinnati Fire District 3 Firefighter Collin Grove, Task Force ground support specialist
Cincinnati Fire District 1 Lt. Jeff McDonough, a rescue specialist
They were joined by two firefighters from West Chester and one each from departments in Anderson Township, Sycamore Township, Evendlale and the Butler County city of Hamilton.