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Indiana Task Force 1 departs WPAFB for Hurricane Maria deployment

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 6:41 PM
Updated: Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 8:30 PM

Indiana task force

UPDATE @ 8:30 p.m. (Sept. 23)

Indiana Task Force 1 departed today from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and arrived in Dover, Delaware, their last stop before Puerto Rico.

Nearly 30 members of IN-TF1 are headed to the island after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

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Authorities said Puerto Rico will be without power for weeks following the devastation.

UPDATE @ 10:55 p.m. (Sept. 20)

Nearly 30 members of Indiana Task Force 1 staying tonight at a Beavercreek hotel may be enjoying their last good sleep for awhile.

RELATED: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The task force is ready to fly out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Thursday or Friday for the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Maria. They arrived tonight in the Dayton area, packed and ready to go to help out victims in the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico took a lot of devastated hits,” Tom Neal, Indianapolis Fire Battalion Chief and IN-TF1 member.

He is one of the members on his third deployment to a region affected by a hurricane.

RELATED: U.S. coastal development continues despite lessons of past storms

“Went to Harvey as part of the support team and then was on my way out the door to head home from Houston and then got diverted to Florida for Hurricane Irma,” Neal said.

Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes this month.

“We’re just now starting to get some of those damage reports out from the area that’s been hit with the hurricane,” he said.

Part of the task force includes four K-9s. The dogs will be asked to do a couple tasks.

“Both have live find as well as human remains detection so we will have the capability ... at the same time as the same handlers,” Neal said.

The team could be deployed anywhere from 10 to 14 days up to three weeks.

UPDATE @ 8:25 p.m.

Indiana Task Force 1 is holding an impromptu press conference at 9 p.m. outside their Beavercreek hotel.

The task force will be leaving from Wright Patterson Air Force Base for Puerto Rico after it was hit by Hurricane Maria. The task force has not been told when they would be deploying.

Indiana task force


Indiana Task Force 1 is preparing for deployment to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravages the island.

RELATED: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The urban search and rescue team is sending 27 members to join rescue efforts.

They are headed to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and are scheduled to depart Thursday or Friday, according to the team’s social media posts.

IN-TF1 earlier this month was deployed for back-to-back responses for hurricanes Harvey and Irma.