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Frisco firefighters, Texas A&M Taskforce 1 team returns home from Louisiana

“You got down there and it was just total devastation in parts of these communities," said Danny Watkins.

FRISCO, Texas — The state of Louisiana is still reeling a week later 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, teamed up with a hazardous materials and logistics specialist from Frisco to help our neighbors to the east. They left a couple days before Ida made landfall.

“You got down there and it was just total devastation in parts of these communities," said Danny Watkins.

It is often assumed that the aftermath means the worst is behind us. That does not appear to be the case for Louisiana. Basic needs for survival can be seen in long lines for gas and food and also in the piece-by-piece salvaging of homes ripped apart.

“You gotta take care of yourself these days,” said Troy Johnson, who lost half his home to Ida’s strong winds.

The cries of people are drowned out only by the hum of generators and alarms ringing throughout towns and communities. Watkins with Texas A&M Task Force 1 was sent to Houma and the southern parishes where Ida first made landfall.

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

Cell communication is down in most places to the south. Power lines, power poles, and trees are also down for miles. High water has claimed neighborhoods but the wind has clearly taken so much more.

“It wears on you. You just want to help these people any way you can, you just go from street to street to street,” he said.

There are even dangers not so easily seen. During WFAA’s coverage of the storm, a crew noticed an alligator poking his head out of the water right along a major thoroughfare.

“You’re in southern Louisiana; all these animals have been washed up and are cruising around,” he said.

One 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 just as much about listening to them.

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