Frisco firefighters, the Texas A&M Taskforce 1 team, return home

“You got there and it was a total devastation in some of those communities,” Danny Watkins said.

FRISCO, Texas – The state of Louisiana continues to roll in a week after Hurricane Ida left a trail of devastation. Danny Watkins of the Frisco Fire Department is part of a large contingent representing Texas A&M Taskforce 1.

Watkins, a rescue specialist, partnered with a logistics and hazardous materials specialist from Frisco to help our eastern neighbors. They left a couple of days before Ida hit the ground.

“You got there and it was a total devastation in some of those communities,” Danny Watkins said.

The consequences are often supposed to mean that the worst is behind us. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Louisiana. The basic necessities of survival can be seen in long lines of gas and food and also in the piece-by-piece recovery of torn houses.

“These days you have to be careful,” said Troy Johnson, who lost half his home to Ida’s strong winds.

People’s screams are drowned out only by the hum of generators and the alarms that sound in cities and communities. Watkins with Texas A&M Task Force 1 was sent to Houma and the southern parishes where Ida touched down.

“Doing damage assessments, doing other types of searches, seeing if anyone was trapped in homes, so we covered a lot of ground in different parishes,” Watkins said.

Cellular communication decreases in most places in the south. Power lines, power poles and trees are also down for miles. High water has claimed the neighborhoods, but the wind has taken much longer.

“It wears you out. You just want to help these people in the way you can, you just have to go from street to street, ”he said.

There are even dangers that are not so easily seen. During WFAA coverage of the storm, a crew noticed that an alligator was sticking its head out of the water along a large track.

“You’re south of Louisiana; all these animals have been washed and they are crossing here, ”he said.

A installment of Texas Taskforce 1 has returned home to their families. Future missions are possible because the need here is great. Danny tells WFAA about his experience that serving and rescuing people is the same as listening to them.

“The roots there are so deep and have been there for generations,” Watkins said.

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