Nebraska Search and Rescue Team Returns Home from Moore
82 members Nebraska Task Force One arrived home ThursdayPhoto: Video by kmtv.com
LINCOLN, Neb. -The Nebraska Task Force returned home from Moore, Okla., Thursday evening.
"I am going to hug my wife and my kids. And thank God I am alive," team member Dave Kirchofer said.
The urban search and rescue team was one of four called in to assist with searches in the wake of Monday's deadly tornado. The 82-member task force is composed of firefighters from the Lincoln and Omaha fire departments, as well as doctors, structural engineers and heavy-rigging specialists.
The team also includes five canine search specialists with six dogs. Five of the dogs are trained in searching for live trapped people; the sixth is trained in remains retrieval.
Fire Chief John Huff said the team successfully completed its assignments without injury or incident.
Battalion Chief Eric Nelson says the first team members left at 9 p.m. Monday night. They worked around the clock, getting little sleep, searching through rubble, broken trees, and debris near the Moore hospital. Nelson didn't have a number of the people they helped.
"I never keep track. And the reason why is I don't want to know. Because I want to treat every structure that we search, every block we cover, every building that we assess, I want to treat it like it's completely full of people that need to be rescued right now," Nelson said.
Rescuers say the hardest part of the searching was the rain. Crews had to stop twice because of lightning. The most rewarding part was the people of Moore, Kirchofer says.
"It's unfortunate you have to see something like this to say, we are one, we all stick together. And that's the one thing about Moore, Oklahoma. They are not in this alone."