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Despite quick turnaround, Missouri Task Force 1 ready for Irma deployment

Missouri Task Force 1 ready for Irma...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - While Missouri may be more than 1,000 miles away from Florida, it's all hands on deck to help with Hurricane Irma. 

The Boone County Fire Protection District believes there's a good probability Missouri Task Force 1 will be deployed to Florida. After all, multiple members have already been sent.

"It's a challenge. My wife works full time and we have two small kids at home," said Danny Mueller. "I've got a 2-month-old and a 4-year-old so her having to pick up the slack whenever I'm gone is a big challenge." 

Mueller has been on Missouri Task Force 1 for the last 10 years. He went to Texas to help in the aftermath of Harvey and said he doesn't know if he could go to Florida so soon after that trip.

"That's a big pill to swallow. We have guys that were just at Harvey getting ready to go out to Hurricane Irma. We haven't really had any back to back like that since Katrina." 

The same is true for more than 100 Ameren workers who have also been sent to Florida. 

"It's certainly not easy for the coworkers who leave their homes and families and go out of town to respond to situations like this," said Mike Lewis with Ameren Missouri. "Not only are they leaving home, they're going into some very difficult situations to do long hours of restoration work."

Missouri's Task Force 1 has 210 members divided into three teams. 

September is the red team's month, so those members will be asked first but can say "no." 

Despite the hardships, Missourians aren't afraid of a challenge. 

"Nobody's afraid to get their hands dirty and work right next to the locals," said assistant fire chief Gale Blomenkamp with the Boone County Fire Protection District.

"When people need us, we're going to go. Whether it's a fire call in the middle of the night or to Hurricane Harvey, we gotta go. They need our help and that's what we do," said Mueller.


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