OH-TF1 returns home after days of searches in Western Kentucky

DAWSON SPRINGS, Kentucky — Ohio Task Force 1 has returned back to Ohio Thursday night following three days of searches in parts of Western Kentucky in the aftermath of last week’s tornado outbreak.

>>RELATED: Ohio Task Force 1 enters third day of searches in tornado ravaged areas in Western Kentucky

A Type III Urban Search and Rescue Team from OH-TF1 had been in Kentucky since Monday after Friday’s strong tornadoes. After several searches in areas southwest of Mayfield, Kentucky, and near Dawson Springs, Kentucky, the team was officially demobilized Thursday and will return home.

>>PHOTOS: OH-TF1 rescue operations continue in Western Kentucky

News Center 7 was there Thursday evening as the team of more than 40 people returned to their headquarters in Vandalia.

Members of the team told News Center 7′s James Rider that compared to other disasters the team has responded to in the past, this stood out.

“I haven’t see devastation like this from tornadoes in the past. This was pretty intense,” Adam Landis, OH-TF1 Task Leader, said.

Jim O’Connor, Task Force Leader, said the scale of the tornadoes that ripped through western Kentucky was “far beyond anything” he had ever seen.

“The geographic scale was much closer to watch I’ve seen in a hurricane response in terms of the space it covered,” O’Connor said.

>>RELATED: Ohio Task Force 1 conducting searches in tornado-hit areas in Kentucky

Among those who came back with the team was Nick Fathergill and his dog, Sunny, a human remains detection dog. Fathergill, K-9 Search Specialist, said he and Sunny helped OH-TF1 search approximately 1,900 structures.

“We are looking, just double checking, making sure nobody’s been left behind and lost. Thankfully, she was used but we did not have any finds because the folks down there had done such a good job,” Fathergill said.

“As always, I cannot put into words how proud I am of this team and the men and women who respond with it and the work they completed in only three days. Every Ohioan should be proud of how this team represents the citizens of Ohio in disaster relief,” O’Connor said in a media release Thursday afternoon.