As Hurricane Florence moves in, Louisville crews head out to help storm victims
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, Louisville is gearing up. Local crews are preparing to help those in the path of the monster storm.
Michael Shelton, who has been a Louisville firefighter for 12 years, is making his first trip into a hurricane zone. Shelton is helping lead a swift water rescue team headed to North Carolina.
“I imagine our primary objective will be search and rescue, clearing houses, maybe stranded individuals that did not heed the evacuation notices by the mayor,” Shelton said.
Twenty-four people in 10 vehicles and seven boats are leaving families behind in Louisville to face unknown hazards for an unknown length of time.
“You have to commend them on their commitment not just to the city of Louisville, but on the call for need beyond our borders, which is what they're answering,” said Capt. Bobby Cooper, spokesman for the Louisville Fire Department.
The Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief team is also answering that call, sending 75 volunteers into the storm zone. The kitchen crews plan to leave on Sunday.
“Our kitchen will be doing probably 15,000 to 25,000 meals a day initially for those impacted in the zone,” said Coy Webb, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s disaster relief director.
Webb said the food team will be followed soon by chainsaw crews and chaplains.
“Jesus taught us that it's just the right thing to do to offer compassion to our neighbor when they're in need and hurting,” Webb said.
And as the storm creates chaos, 12 agents from the Louisville ATF office will be there to help local law enforcement.
“They go there with the understanding of what their mission is, public safety and supporting the community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Stuart Lowrey.
As Hurricane Florence moves in, men and women from Louisville are moving out to assist strangers hundreds of miles away.
“Like other men out here, I think it's just something that we're naturally drawn to,” Shelton said.
“Often, they just need to know someone cares,” Webb said. “I think as we come, we let them know not only someone cares but, even better, we let them know that God hasn’t forgotten them.”
The Red Cross is also sending five Kentucky workers into the storm zone. Duke Energy is dispatching 250 workers from Indiana. A spokesperson said LG&E is standing by to see what may be needed.
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