Montgomery Co. first responders heading to Louisiana to assist with impact of Ida

A group of first responders from Montgomery County, Maryland, are on their way to Louisiana to help with the impact of Hurricane Ida as it moves toward the Gulf Coast.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is sending 45 of its members along with eight boats, five pick up trucks, four vans, three tractor trailers and two box trucks. All told, it’ll be more than 1,000 miles down to Louisiana to support any rescue or cleanup efforts.

Ida recently struck Cuba as a Category 3 storm, and forecasters predict that it will pick up force and possibly turn into a Category 4 before making landfall in the Gulf Coast on Sunday. The threat of the storm has already prompted the mayor of New Orleans to order the evacuation of all residents who are not in an area of the city protected by a levee.

Chase Fabrizio, a captain with the team, told WTOP the county is happy to lend a hand with the relief efforts.

“It’s an unbelievable experience to be able to go down and help the areas that are devastated by these natural disasters and help them with whatever they need.”

The team underwent medical clearance and COVID-19 tests before packing up and hitting the road. He said he’s been on about two-dozen deployments in his 20 years on the team.

“There’s always a level of excitement and little bit of the adrenaline rush of the unknown of what you’re about to face.”

He said they will stay as long as they’re needed.

Fabrizio has been on about two-dozen deployments for major natural disasters. He said there’s always an adrenaline rush that comes along with heading out toward the unknown.

“Of course there’s a little bit of excitement going into something that while it’s predictable, it’s also unpredictable at the same time,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to going down to Louisiana and doing some good work.”

The Associated Press and WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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