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Local firefighters return from Louisiana cleanup efforts

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Firefighters Return Home Ida PKG

HERRIN (WSIL) -- Local firefighters have been assisting in Louisiana cleanup efforts following Hurricane Ida. Those emergency responders returned home late Sunday night.

The state of Illinois sent three strike teams to Louisiana, to help communities recover after Hurricane Ida.

"We had three engine companies plus myself stationed in Albany, Louisiana. In ten days we ran just over 60 calls," says Herrin Fire Chief Shawn Priddy.

More than 60 firefighters made the trip and Chief Priddy was the Strike Team Leader in Albany.

"Did a lot of tarping roofs, did a lot of tree cutting, did a lot of unloading supplies from trailers at local churches that were handing out supplies and food. Helped with traffic control. We stayed extremely busy," states Priddy.

Priddy says crews have made significant progress but it could be another month before everyone has power.

"There were trees down everywhere, tons and tons of folks that are still without power all over Louisiana. The crews are doing an amazing job of getting power restored and of course for the fire service that means more calls."

Despite the difficult situation, Priddy says the communities were in good spirits.

"The place where we were at, they were talking kind of #teamalbany and Albany strong. Every place that we went to, you talk about southern hospitality, we definitely saw it. Whether we were dealing with the community on calls. Whether we were in the hardware store, the grocery store."

The trip was Priddy's first Hurricane relief mission and he says it was a once in a lifetime experience.

"They say it can be a once in a career opportunity and I'm extremely grateful that I was able to participate."

The trip ended up being a 12 day adventure and after a lot of hard work, responders are happy to be back with their families.

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