SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Less than a day after they arrived in Texas to help with Harvey recovery efforts, several Central Florida firefighters said they have had to rescue many people from the massive flood waters in the area.
Seminole County Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Johansmeyer said by phone Tuesday that his team has been pulling flood survivors out of homes and cars since they arrived in the Hurricane Harvey disaster area.
"I've responded to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ivan and this is far worse than that was,” said Johansmeyer.
The Central Florida team is part of Florida Task Force 4 and includes first responders from Orange County, Seminole, Orlando, and others. They left for Texas on Sunday with boats and water rescue gear to help however they could in the continuing storm.
Johansmeyer said that’s one of the main problems: the storm continues to hit the area. He said even when his team got there they had trouble finding shelter to set up their base.
"We were at a local fire station where we were trying to set up a staging location,” he said. "Within 1 hour’s time it already had 6 inches of water outside of it and you couldn't even get into the station."
The Task Force was originally scheduled for a week long deployment but Johansmeyer expects that to be extended due to the vastness of the damage.
"The water is rising daily and by the minute,” he said.