9/3/2005 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION – Texas Task Force 1 evacuated 138 people from a flooded downtown New Orleans nursing home Saturday, as both the water rescue and urban search and rescue teams continued operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The 41-member water strike team rescued the nursing home residents in floodwaters near Tulane Hospital throughout the day Saturday. Meanwhile, Texas Task Force 1’s 80-member urban search and rescue team began searching and clearing a large area of homes and apartment buildings in a previously unsearched area of downtown New Orleans.
Texas Task Force 1 is leading one of the five groups of FEMA urban search and rescue teams working in New Orleans, which includes teams from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Tennessee, as well as water rescue squads from California.
Task Force personnel report that the people of New Orleans continue to be extremely appreciative of their efforts. No injuries have been sustained by Texas Task Force 1 members during rescue operations despite challenging conditions.
Texas Task Force 1 has combined with other response agencies to rescue 4,000 people from Katrina’s floodwaters since landfall last Monday. Texas Task Force 1 has a total of 123 members working in response to Katrina, including personnel as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) incident support team in New Orleans and the Texas State Operations Center in Austin.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of The Texas A&M System, serves as the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1.