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State task force sent to Texas to assist with search, rescue and recovery

'Catastrophic flooding' hits Houston after Harvey's heavy downpour

Rescuers in Houston answered hundreds of desperate calls for help on Sunday as floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey climbed high enough to fill the second floors of homes and stranded families were urged to seek refuge on their roofto
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Rescuers in Houston answered hundreds of desperate calls for help on Sunday as floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey climbed high enough to fill the second floors of homes and stranded families were urged to seek refuge on their roofto

Task Force 5, a coalition of firefighters that includes the Sedgwick County Fire Department, is deploying to Texas to assist in rescue and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Part of the task force, which includes four Sedgwick County firefighters from Fire District 1, departed Wednesday night, according to state officials. The remainder departed Thursday. Elements of several other task forces from around Kansas have been sent to Texas as well.

The joint task force will remain in Texas through at least Sept. 6, according to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office. The team will take hard-bottom boats, air boats and inflatable boats to Texas.

Four swift water rescue teams are in Texas with hard-bottom boats, air boats and inflatable boats, according to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Office.

Information released via Facebook on Thursday indicated the first arrivals were sent to Fort Bend County southwest of Houston. It includes the cities of Sugar Land and Rosenberg.

Other agencies that are part of the joint task force include the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Other fire departments involved with the task force include Derby, Chanute, Hutchinson, Manhattan, Mission Township, Neodesha, Newton, Parsons, Pittsburg, Salina, Shawnee and Winfield.

The South Hutchinson Police Department, and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office are also part of the task force, state officials said.

“I’m proud that Sedgwick County is able to participate in the response and rescue efforts in Texas,” Sedgwick County Manager Mike Scholes said in a prepared statement. “It is our responsibility to help our neighbors in times of need.”

The task force will “search for people who may be injured or in need of medical attention, provide basic life support and assist with the rescue efforts as necessary,” a statement released by the county Wednesday night said.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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