CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - Help is on the way to flood-stricken eastern North Carolina, thanks in part to firefighters from Concord, Gastonia, and other local departments who have been deployed to head that way and provide whatever assistance is needed.
One group left from the Concord Airport Monday afternoon. They are leaving behind their own families and friends to help those in need.
“So, it is tough on them,” said Concord Fire Department firefighter Justin Caldwell. “Luckily, they are used to it. I’ve been in the fire service about 15 years now, so they know to expect it when things like this happen.”
The devastation from Florence in eastern North Carolina may take years to repair, but in the short-term there are immediate needs like skilled firefighters. That’s why this group is packing up and heading out.
“We’ll be on a fire crew, to be honest,” said Chief Edward Lipscomb of the AO (Altamaha-Ossipee) Fire Department. “We don’t really know the full scope of what we’ll be doing.” They could be answering fire calls, or just whatever is needed.
Their efforts will be a great relief to firefighters who live on the affected area, allowing them time to tend to their own loved ones and homes.
“It’s part of being in the fire service, and it’s a good opportunity to meet others across the state and we all have the same passion to help people,” said Concord Deputy Chief Jake Williams.
On Monday, the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Combat Aviation Brigade Chinook helicopter landed at Concord Regional Airport and loaded up the firefighters for the flight east.
On Sunday there was another flight that included members of the Locke Fire Department in Rowan County.
They’ll be in the area for 7-10 days in difficult conditions, but no one is complaining.
“I kind of look at this as you go help people who need help, one day we might be in the same shoes,” Lipscomb added. “As firemen we go help our brothers and sisters who are struggling.”