Tennesseans contribute to relief efforts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennesseans contribute to relief efforts

The emergency responders and civilians who make up Tennessee Task Force One are waiting tonight for a possible request to send more help. Already one team is in New Orleans, but tonight a team twice as big may get the call.

At the Tennessee Task Force warehouse at the old defense depot, they are loading up for a massive deployment.

Already 34 members of the task force are in New Orleans, on borrowed boats, rescuing the stranded.

"They are finding people stranded in buildings, on top of buildings and picking them up," said Deputy Chief Michael Putt. Putt told us reports from New Orleans are catastrophic.

On Tuesday alone, the task force from Tennessee rescued 249 stranded New Orlinians. In one case, they saved a nine year-old girl who was - according to one email sent back to Memphis - the only one left alive in her house.

"I think that this stands out above all the other times that we've ever been deployed including the pentagon," said Putt.

The situation in New Orleans is so bad - he says - FEMA may ask them for more resources.

And Tennessee Task Force One may be sending an even larger team.

85 people, firefighters, engineers, doctors may join the first team. They'll be living and working out of tents in a parking lot. Putting in 12 hour days.

Chief Michael Putt says they train year round for crises. But - he says - this is bigger than anything they've faced before.

Tennessee Task Force One is made up of people from Fayette, Shelby and Tipton Counties. They've responded to every major national crisis during the last several years.

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