Pine Belt firefighters send help to Florida

Pine Belt firefighters sent to help Florida

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Four Hattiesburg firefighters, alongside 38 others, have been sent to Florida to help with the aftereffects of Hurricane Dorian.

"We have members of our fire department here that are members of a task force, that operates under MEMA and the Department of Homeland security,” said Hattiesburg Fire Lt. Don Massengale. “It’s statewide. It’s called STAR team. It’s a statewide, technically advance rescue.”

They left Sunday afternoon and arrived at Blanding in Starke, Florida around 4:00 Monday morning.

They will be stationed there for training and rescue preps until Dorian makes landfall.

"They'll be doing a lot of training, getting ready, getting everything prepared, all their equipment checked off and good to go to where whenever they are needed, they can roll out and go to a certain area,” said Massengale.

The mission of the Mississippi task force is to provide highly specialized services to victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Those in the task force are highly trained to handle situations like this.

“They are able to go out and assist states through a partnership,” Massengale said. “All the states can back each other up or send help. If we had all this going on during Katrina, a lot of task forces would have come over here and helped us, which I believe some actually did.”

Firefighters from Petal and the coast are also in Florida.

Hattiesburg has more than 20 firefighters who are part of the MS USAR task force.

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