Firefighters leave Baton Rouge for Alabama
BATON ROUGE - Rescuers sifting through the rubble in Alabama will get help from 150 volunteers from Louisiana who made the trip to the storm-ravaged area today.
Among the volunteers are 25 firefighters that are part of the Urban Search and Rescue Team. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said this is their first mission outside the state, and their focus will be searching for people inside the many collapsed buildings around places like Tuscaloosa.
"We know how to search, we know how to rescue people from buildings, so we go with a lot of knowledge and a lot of expertise and we'll be able to hit the ground running," Browning said.
For the men deploying to Tuscaloosa, it's also a way to give back, to those who helped Louisiana through an earlier disaster.
"Alabama firefighters were the first to come to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Gustav," said Chief Scotty Shelton with the Baton Rouge Fire Department. "They brought generators, they brought ice, which was a hard commodity to find. We were very grateful to the firefighters from Alabama and it feels really good to go back and reciprocate."
Col. Mike Edmonson with the Louisiana State Police said 20 troopers will also be sent to Tuscaloosa within a week to help relieve Alabama rescue crews.
"They've been working around the clock for six or seven days in Tuscaloosa," Edmonson said. "They're tired, and this is a chance for them to get a little bit of rest."
The volunteers plan on staying in Alabama for around a week before coming home.