A Burke County swift water rescue team that was deployed to eastern North Carolina headed home Friday after Hurricane Dorian moved through the Carolinas.
Lt. John Hood with Burke County EMS said the group first was sent to Elizabethtown in Bladen County, but was deployed to Bolivia in Brunswick County the next morning.
This isn’t the first time a swiftwater team from Burke County has been called in to assist with a hurricane. Last year a group was sent to the coast to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
It was different for this year’s crew, though. While a crew helped with rescue efforts after the hurricane last year, this year’s team got to experience the hurricane.
But it wasn’t as bad as was expected. Hood compared it to a severe thunderstorm with a lot of wind.
“[Thursday] evening into the early morning hours [Friday] morning were the major concerns that we had,” Hood said. “They were predicting anywhere from 80-100 mph winds.”
Hood said the area fared better than expected.
“[We sent] crews out to check on roadways, check on a few homes … but as it looks right now, they missed the bulk of it,” Hood said.
There were tornadoes that touched down in Brunswick County, but the Burke County group was not nearby at the time of the tornadoes.
“Luckily, there was nobody injured in either of those tornadoes,” Hood said. “There was property damage. Several roofs were completely destroyed off of homes, but nothing that called for rescue from our end. It was all handled with local resources.”
The team also received some support along the way.
On the way through Catawba County, the team stopped by Hickory Fire Department to fill up two coolers with ice to keep some of their supplies chilled.
“Burke County thanks Hickory Fire Department for allowing us to get ice from their station,” Hood said.
They also made a stop at Sams Club to get necessities to make it through at least 48 hours, but Hood said once they got to Brunswick County, that wasn’t needed.
“Luckily, when we got down here, Brunswick and Bladen counties both were very accommodating,” Hood said. “We didn’t have to utilize [the supplies] to be self-sufficient for 48 hours.”
While the team was in Sams Club, someone left a note on a napkin under a windshield wiper of one of their vehicles, Hood said.
“Thank you for the work you do,” the note read. “I have prayed and ask [sic] God for His protection over you. Take Care.”
Hood said they were happy to have support from the community.
“It was just a nice gesture from whoever left it showing that they just support our actions and what we’re going for,” Hood said. “It actually gave the team a boost of just overall appreciation.”
The rescue team was composed of members of Burke County EMS and Oak Hill Fire and Rescue.
Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.