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Fire Captain shares experience in rescue efforts during Hurricane Florence ahead of possible second deployment

Lafayette Fire Captain Toby Frost could very well be the next member of Indiana Task Force 1 sent to Florida during Hurricane Michael.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 7:56 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — September 10, 2018 is a night Lafayette Fire Captain Toby Frost won't forget.

"I got a call at 11:24 at night that we had 6 hours to get out the door," remembers Frost. 

That was the night he was sent to help with rescue efforts in Hurricane Florence. Frost has been on Indiana Task Force 1 for five years, but this was his first time being deployed.

In most natural disaster situations, FEMA controls what the task force does. However Frost said circumstances in Wilmington, North Carolina, were so bad, this mission was handled differently.

"New Hanover County was managing us so we were forward deployed in the storm. For us the beauty of that is we were out the door immediately, the request didn't have to go to the federal chain and then come back to use to deploy. The locals were able to call us and say hey we need help here," said Frost. 

Frost was at the forefront of several tough situations for both residents and first responders. He remembers one instance vividly. 

"There was a tree that fell on a house and trapped a mother and child. The child ended up being deceased when it was all said and done but the fire department had been working round the clock trying to run emergency calls in their territories and were absolutely exhausted when we got there."

As a Hazmat specialist, he was also tasked with keeping his team safe during rescues.

"Making sure no one gets exposed to something they shouldn't be or if we have bad air or a gas leak or anything like that we try to identify that to keep the scene safe so we can keep moving."

Frost has been back for two weeks and is already preparing for his next possible mission. With Hurricane Michael approaching Florida, he's on stand-by.

"They've deployed two task force type one teams, our team would be the next one to go," said Frost. 

Frost said it's tough call to wait for, but one he'd be honored to answer.

"It is a neat experience to see the best side of humanity on the worst days of their lives everybody is willing to help their neighbor."

Frost was in North Carolina for twelve days.

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