HUGO, North Carolina (WDTN) – The eye of the storm may have left the Carolinas, but Florence’s presence is still felt. Significant flooding has damaged homes and businesses, closed roads, and claimed lives.
Fairborn Firefighter Gene Thomas is on the ground in Hugo, North Carolina. He’s there as a Water Rescue Specialist with Ohio Task Force 1. He says as 911 calls roll in, they move out.
“They wait too late or they think it’s not going to reach them. And they wake up in the morning and the first floor of their house is almost underwater,” Thomas said. “In this region, lower lying regions, the water rises very quick. And a lot of times, people underestimate that and that’s how they end up in trouble.”
Thomas says, thankfully, the majority of the people in the area have evacuated, having experienced such storms before and knowing the devastation they leave behind.
“Most of the people have evacuated because they’ve already been through one hurricane – two years ago, Matthew – so we’ve not had a lot of people that have remained in their homes,” he said. “We did have one swift water rescue, two nights ago, for a gentleman who got stranded. And then we’ve had one car evacuation.”
Before Hugo, Ohio Task Force 1 was stationed in Kinston, North Carolina.
Thomas says the team is packing up to move to another location once FEMA hands down the assignment.