Covington firefighters in Texas with Laura

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4 from City on 85-member hurricane response team
 
COVINGTON, Ky. - Four Covington firefighters were due to arrive in Texas this afternoon to help conduct search-and-rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm being billed as one of the strongest to ever hit the United States.
 
Laura made landfall overnight, pummeling the Louisiana coast with 150 mph winds and a major storm “surge” that caused the Mississippi River to flow backward, according to The Weather Channel.
 
The four - engineer Ryan Marzheuser, engineer-paramedic Kurt Thomas, paramedic Lt. Paul Woodring, and engineer Jeff Brinkman - are part of Ohio Task Force 1, a regional urban-search-and-rescue team based near Dayton, Ohio. The task force, known as OH-TF1, was activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday and left its base in Vandalia about 10 p.m.
 
Marzheuser holds the title of “rescue team manager” with OH-TF1, the rest are “rescue specialists.”
 
“We are proud of our members who sacrifice time with their families to go and help others in need during a disaster,” Covington Fire Chief Mark Pierce said. “Our four members who were activated are dedicated Rescue Technicians who work hard every day to polish their skills for a time just like this.” 
 
The deployed team consisted of 85 members and 16 vehicles, plus boats and other equipment needed to search destroyed buildings and flooded areas for victims. The drive was expected to take 15 to 17 hours.
 
They were deployed to College Station, Texas, which sits northwest of Houston, where they will stage their efforts. (With the storm’s path unexpectedly taking a more northern path from its landfall near Cameron, La., it’s not clear where the team will actually be operating.)
 
No matter what they’re assigned to do and where they’re assigned to do it, Pierce said, “I know they will do a great job and represent the City in a manner we will be proud of.”
 
He pointed out that the Fire Department is reimbursed for the firefighters’ salaries, overtime pay, benefits, and replacements during their deployment.
 
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