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TS Isaac's path brings back memories for Jacksonville USAR team

2:44 PM, Aug 26, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla-- Just days before the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Tropical Storm Isaac is giving the Gulf Coast a scary sense of déjà vu.

Now, those who lived through Katrina, and those who helped after are watching and waiting.

"There was such devastation in Mississippi. They said ... just go," said Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters president Randy Wyse.

Wyse was one of dozens of Jacksonville firefighters that were part of the Urban Search and Rescue team from the Jacksonville area that responded during Katrina.

"We were some of the first teams into Mississippi and realized how bad it really was," says Wyse.

He says the team searched the collapsed homes for survivors and the deceased, but even the most seasoned members of the team had a hard time comprehending the mass devastation.

"Homes were off their foundations, we were finding bodies in the bayous through helicopter searches. It was quite an amazing thing to go through and the suffering of the people of Mississippi was just unbelievable," tells Wyse.

Now as the team watches Tropical Storm Isaac take a similar path, they are flooded with memories from Katrina. But all they can do for now is wait and be ready to answer the call for help.

"I pray for the people of Mississippi that they won't have to endure the same thing that they went through last time," says Wyse.

For Jacksonville's Urban Search and Rescue team to be sent to another state or a different part of the state, the order would have to be issued from the governor's office, according to Wyse. So far, he said the team has not gotten the call to go, but they are ready in case that call comes in.

First Coast News

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