Tennessee Task Force 1 returns from helping Hurricane Michael victims

Tennessee Task Force 1 returns from helping Hurricane Michael victims

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Task Force 1 is on their way home after helping to save and rebuild lives devastated by powerful Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle.

They are returning home heroes after combing through debris, searching for missing people and pets after the devastating Hurricane Michael.

Newly released pictures show the devastation as 80 team members of Tennessee Task Force 1 searched for survivors of Hurricane Michael.

Tennessee Task Force 1 in Florida (Source: FEMA)
Tennessee Task Force 1 in Florida (Source: FEMA) (WMC Action News 5)

“The area we were in which was Mexico Beach, it was pretty devastated,” said leader and Fire Department Division Chief Colin Burress. “You saw a lot of structures that had been uprooted and moved. Anything you could name that could be touched and moved by the water was and it was just total displacement of a lot of things.”

Chief Burress spoke to WMC5 on FaceTime as their caravan stopped on their way home to the Mid-South.

He said it was extremely rewarding helping people begin to rebuild their lives.

“We were able to go in and help a lot of people, which we definitely enjoy that component, being able to restore some semblance of normalcy,” Chief Burress said.

Tennessee Task Force 1 played an instrumental role in the recovery of the area, assisting with three rescues, 110 evacuations, and more than 1,000 animal rescues.

Tennessee Task Force 1 in Florida (Source: FEMA)
Tennessee Task Force 1 in Florida (Source: FEMA) (WMC Action News 5)

“We did a lot of canine work, just canvassing a lot of the neighborhoods and communities that they need searched,” Chief Burress said.

After 10 days of grueling, emotional work, Chief Burress said members of the task force are looking forward to getting back to the Mid-South.

“I can’t wait to get home, I got a son celebrating his 8th birthday today and we got a bunch of team members that got things going and we can’t wait to see our family and friends,” Chief Burress said.

Chief Burress said members of the task force will get a few days off to relax with their family.

However, if need be they’ll be ready to go again any day. There are rotating members of the task force who are always ready at a moment’s notice.

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