BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While flood waters continue to rock portions of Texas and Louisiana, more area first responders packed up and headed out to Port Arthur to help with relief efforts.
"We've been ready to go for quite some time, but we had to stay home to make sure everything was taken care of here," said Michael Kimble with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
According to Curt Monte with BRFD, at the request of the Louisiana Fire Marshal, seven firemen from Baton Rouge, two from Hammond, and one from Zachary were dispatched to help with flood water rescues in Texas and Louisiana. "The people that are on the team, they do it because they want to. It's not because we're forced to do it. It's the love of helping other people," said Paul Pinsonat with BRFD.
First responders in the task force group, who are trained to rescue people from swift moving currents, left the BRFD headquarters Thursday afternoon. "These men that are going, it's in their blood. They've trained for it and they're ready to go to work," said Kimble.
Meanwhile, another group of local first responder boots are on the soggy ground. "We're doing everything in our power to find out where the needs," said Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
Ard and members of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association, including deputies from Ascension and West Feliciana Parishes started rescues early Thursday morning. "Right now, we're actually sweeping the whole area in Port Arthur to make sure there's no one trapped in their homes, no one that maybe they missed on the first sweep. We're finding quite a few people," said Ard.
Sherriff Ard says the grief felt in Port Arthur vividly reminds of him of the mass devastation felt following Hurricane Katrina over a ago, or just last year when his own parish was under water.
"This is no different than me being in my hometown and having to deal with this. I don't mean this in a bad way, but it's kind of nice being the person going to help people and not the person sitting waiting for people to come help you."
Both groups say giving back to so many people that willingly gave to them is an honor while serving as first responders. "We'll be here as long as we're needed, long as we're able to supply what is needed here," said Sheriff Ard.
"There are people at the worst time of their life, so we're going to go out there and take care of our business and try to help them and get them out of the houses if they're still there," said Kimble.
We're told 100 first responders across the state were dispatched to Texas and Louisiana.