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Toledo firefighters poised to help in Houston

  • TFD-Harvey

    Toledo firefighters, with Chief Luis Santiago, center, during preparations to head to Houston to provide aid to the victims of the catastrophic flooding brought on by Harvey


  • Harvey-2-2

    Evacuees wade down a flooded section of Interstate 610 as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston.


Toledo firefighters continued to wait Wednesday for the official call to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Crews on Wednesday afternoon were staged and ready to begin the long drive to an affected area to Texas or Louisiana, said Toledo Fire Department spokesman Pvt. Sterling Rahe. All paperwork and logistics have been filed, but crews are waiting for their call, he said. 

Members of the department’s special operations bureau worked late into Tuesday, packing a trailer of items to assist in relief efforts. Once permission is granted, an eight member team will set out for a nearly 20-hour drive to help with post-hurricane efforts, said Private Rahe. 

READ MORE: Northwest Ohio sends relief as Harvey drenches Houston

Department officials continued to wait for approval late Wednesday morning.  

The team includes: Deputy Chief John Kaminski, Battalion Chief Bryce Blair; Captain Matthew Brixey; Lt. Greg Yingling; Lt. Greg Segura; Lt. Craig Ellis; Pvt. Jamie Morelock; and Pvt. Jason Zeimke.

Initial plans call for the mission to last eight days.

Those who go will be “highly trained” in a host of emergency response disciplines, including structural collapse response, surface-water rescues, and diving, he said. They’ll bring a host of equipment with them, including dive suits, generators and a Zodiak boat. 

“They’ll do whatever the mission calls for,” Private Rahe said. 

Harvey initially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday then lingered off the coast of Southeast Texas for five days as a tropical storm that dropped record amounts of rain on Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, and the surrounding area. It made landfall for a second time early Wednesday, coming to shore near Cameron in southwest Louisiana and bringing with it a heavy dose of rain that is forecast to spread further north as the day progresses, perhaps as far as Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas. Some sunshine was, finally, forecast for Houston.

Authorities expected the human toll to continue to mount, both in deaths and in the tens of thousands of people made homeless by the catastrophic storm that is now the heaviest tropical downpour in U.S. history. In all, more than 17,000 people have sought refuge in Texas shelters, and that number seemed certain to increase, the American Red Cross said.

Contact Allison Reamer at, 419-724-6506 or on Twitter @AllisonRBlade.

The Associated Press contributed.

Check back later for updates.

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