MURFREESBORO Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of acres of land are burning in the state of Louisiana.
“We were contacted Friday afternoon,” said Murfreesboro Fire Chief Mark McCluskey.
That’s when McCluskey learned Louisiana firefighters needed help.
“They reached back out early Saturday morning,” he said. “They left out at six (a.m.) and left Franklin to head to Louisiana at eight the next morning.”
Fourteen firefighters and personnel make up the Tennessee Task Force Strike Team. Four of those firefighters are part of the Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD).
“We always send a well trained crew,” said McCluskey. “We send a captain, an engineer, and the firefighters with them.”
For the next 21 days, McCluskey said his men will be on the ground backfilling stations whose firefighters are out working the massive fire.
“So we’re actually inside their fire stations right now ,covering their local calls other than the wildland fire calls,” he said.
This experience his men are gathering is something he, too, is familiar with. It was seven years ago when McCluskey left Nashville to help crews battling the Gatlinburg wildfires.
“We backfilled one of the downtown stations,” he said. “We had to have someone from their department ride with us because there (were) certain roads in the mountains that our equipment could not go.”
McCluskey said this deployment is no vacation, and he hopes his firefighters can use their skills to help a community in need.
“I hope they get the experience of seeing how they are helping people (and) realize that anywhere is vulnerable for these types of situations,” he said.
McCluskey said firefighters and personnel from Brentwood and Franklin also left Sunday to help. He also said they have firefighters ready to help if they are needed out in Florida as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches.