For immediate release - September 7, 2005
TAVARES — Two firefighters from the Lake County Department of Public Safety Fire Rescue Division returned this week from the devastated Gulf Coast region.
Assistant Chief of Operations Jim Dickerson provided logistical support and Lt. Chuck Blinko served as search technician when deployed with a Central Florida Task Force to help the communities that were severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. For four days the team of 60 fire personnel from Florida performed search and rescue operations in the Mississippi cities of Gautier, Pascagoula and Biloxi.
“Basically we were going house to house searching for any survivors or hazards,” Dickerson said. “The people there were very thankful and it makes you feel good that we could help.”
While two firefighters have returned to Lake County, four remain deployed to the storm-torn region. Battalion Chief Randy Jones is working with the Florida Division of Forestry at a logistical staging area near the border of Louisiana and Alabama. Firefighter Jeff Fabi is deployed on a Florida National Guard mission to the Gulf Coast. Lt. Ed Genter and Firefighter Nick Ryon left Friday, Sept. 2, with a tanker truck to provide fire protection for the City of Biloxi.
“Jones is expected back next week and we don’t expect the tanker and firefighters to return until Friday, Sept. 16,” Dickerson said. “As for Firefighter Fabi, we are unsure of how long he will be deployed.”
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