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Kansas water rescue teams sent to Texas have returned

Family members evacuate their home in Houston on Aug. 27.
Family members evacuate their home in Houston on Aug. 27. Associated Press

Water rescue teams from agencies across Kansas who were sent to Texas to assist in recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey returned to Kansas Tuesday morning.

“This was a great effort by so many departments across the state,” Randy Hill, the Kansas Office of the State Fire Marshal Search and Rescue Coordinator said in a news release. “It was hard work. Because of the water contamination, it was imperative to wear dry suits, which were extremely hot and steamy in the Texas heat. We kept the teams hydrated and had to work shorter cycles, but everyone worked so well together among the Kansas teams and other teams from across the country.”

The crews left Wednesday and helped search for any people and animals stranded by flood waters. Kansas sent water rescue personnel, along with hard-bottom, air boats, and inflatable boats.

Kansas Search & Rescue swift-water/flood teams, along with teams from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, worked a joint 12-hour operational period Sunday in Katy, Texas, with teams from Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri, the release said.

The Kansas team searched close to 1,200 structures and evacuated 27 people. In total, Sunday’s joint operation resulted in more than 4,000 searched structures and more than 100 evacuations.

“We sent over 50 fire, law enforcement and first responder personnel to Texas,” Doug Jorgensen, Kansas Fire Marshal, said in the release. “I’m proud of the hard work and sacrifice of our Kansas first responders when it came to helping the citizens of Texas during this difficult time. They did a spectacular job down there under difficult conditions, and I’m happy they all made it back safely.”

Agencies involved were: The Kansas Adjutant General’s Office, Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Chanute Fire Department, Derby Fire Department, Hutchinson Fire Department, South Hutchinson Police Department, Manhattan Fire Department, Mission Township Fire Department, Neodesha Fire Department, Newton Fire/EMS, Parsons Fire Department, Pittsburg Fire Department, Salina Fire Department, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Sedgwick County Fire District #1, Shawnee Fire Department, and Winfield Fire/EMS.

Deputies from Chambers County Sheriff’s Office rescued animals stranded at a flooded shelter in Hankamer, Texas, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Appeals to save the animals at Tall Tails Animal Rescue went viral on social media with photos of dogs stand

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday night, bringing record rainfall and "catastrophic flooding."

Nichole Manna: 316-269-6752, @NicholeManna

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