Local first responders return from helping hurricane victims in Florida

Members of Virginia’s Task Force 1, local first responders who have been helping people recover from Hurricane Ian in Florida, returned home Monday.

Dozens of their family members were on hand as the task force members arrived, cheering and clapping and holding signs.

Capt. Jennifer Hiner was part of the crew that’s been deployed for about two weeks.

“We were doing assessments on homes, assisting the residents if they needed help getting to a hospital.”

Her husband, Nate Hiner, said it was a sacrifice having her gone.

“The folks in Florida are certainly going through a lot. That’s why it’s OK for us to sacrifice two to three weeks of mom being gone,” he said.

Captain Hiner said the damage she saw was the worst she’s ever seen in the United States, and she’s done this a number of times.

“It was heartbreaking,” she said.

Officials in Florida said Monday that crews had completed a major search for victims, blaming more than 100 deaths on the storm, most of them in southwest Florida.

That makes it the third-deadliest storm to hit the U.S. mainland, behind Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Maryland’s Task Force 1, another urban search-and-rescue team, was also deployed to Florida to help search for victims in Fort Myers, Florida, and elsewhere.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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