RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– Some Raleigh firefighters were among the first responders when Hurricane Isaias hit the North Carolina coast early Monday.
On Sunday before Hurricane Isaias made landfall, nine members of the Raleigh Fire Department deployed to Williamston, a news release said.
The firefighters ended up responding to the devastation near Windsor in Bertie County where the National Weather Service says a EF-3 tornado brought winds of up to 140 miles per hour.
Around 3 a.m. Monday, the Raleigh rescue team got a call to go to the area.
Captain Kevin Ellsworth said even in the dark with winds still howling and rain pouring, he could tell it was bad.
“It looked like just bits and pieces,” said Ellsworth. “Things that had been structures were strewn across fields. The wind just obliterated the place.”
According to the release, the group that responded is part of the North Carolina Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 8, a regional rescue team comprised of members of the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill fire departments, and Wake County EMS.
Task Force 8 can be deployed statewide for major incidents such as tornadoes, hurricanes and explosions.
While the team was in the affected area, the crews had to chainsaw their way through downed trees and clear power lines before they could get to any homes, the release said.
Once the team made their way through the debris, they heard yelling, the release said.
That’s when the crew saw a mobile home pinned up against a tree after it had flipped several times, the release said.
When crews got a better look, they found two elderly brothers trapped inside with no way out, the release said.
“We had to climb up on top to get in and then pull them out. They were definitely happy to see us. I think God put us in the right place to find them ,” said Ellsworth.
Two people died following the tornado, which touched down around 2:30 a.m. and was a result of Hurricane Isaias.
Here are the names of the firefighters that were on site:
- Kevin Ellsworth
- Chris Holcomb
- Ryan Dover
- Zachary Reynolds
- Randall Schmidt
- Luis Urbina
- David Boyette
- Brantley Hobbs
- Alex Soucy
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