San Diego

Local Crews Head to Florida to Help with Hurricane Irma Aftermath

Local crews sent to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey's destruction were back home Thursday night, but not for long.

Many of them will soon be making their way to Florida over the next couple of days.

Applause and cheers as members of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 8 returned home after 12 days in Texas, helping with Hurricane Harvey's destructive aftermath. 

"Supporting the rescue crews, getting them food, getting them equipment, water, whatever they needed to keep them in operation," said San Diego Fire Captain Jeff Gantz.

Gantz was one of the firefighters with San Diego Fire in Texas and received orders to head to Florida to help with the imminent damage Irma will leave behind.  It’s a sacrifice Gantz’s whole family is more than willing to make.

 "We're out here enjoying calm and safety and Florida is going to get nailed. So we need them to go help support them," said his wife, Mary.

Gantz is one of 80 members with CA-TF8 who will be meeting in Tallahassee, Florida over the next couple of days.  20 members are driving the more than 2,000 miles across the country.

Before they headed out once again, they were praised for their hard work. 

"You went out there, you showed compassion, you showed professionalism, you saved lives, you made a difference," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to the crew members and their families.

The crews will be in place in Florida by early Sunday morning.

Forecasters say conditions in South Florida could turn life-threatening Saturday into Sunday.

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