MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A group of South Florida firefighters are on their way to Guatemala Wednesday to help in rescue efforts in the wake of a devastating and deadly volcano eruption.
They’ve responded to natural disasters all over the world, but this team of first responders and humanitarians were at Miami International Airport Wednesday morning boarding a flight bound for the unknown.
“What I’m walking into I have no idea but I’m looking forward to getting there on the ground assessing the situation,” said Lourdes Sanchez-Breton.
Sanchez-Breton is a 16-year veteran Miami-Dade firefighter and founder of United Badges of Honor, which is a group composed of firefighters, police officers and military who volunteer their time off to head to where disaster strikes.
Now, Guatemala is it.
Seventy-five dead and 200 reported missing as lava continues to flow and explosions intensify as the search for survivors continues in the wake of an eruption from Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, Volcano of Fire.
“It’s like dust, imagine every single thing you own was turned to dust, everything all your clothes, your food, your pictures, nothing. They’re lucky if they’re alive,” said Michael Capponi Executive Director of Global Empowerment Mission.
Capponi organized the trip less than 24 hours after seeing the devastation on TV.
He is armed with 1500 masks as he heads to the zone most affected.
“Get a low down on exactly what’s going on, where we should go, where it’s most needed from government,” he said.
Although they’ve been there for the worst in Haiti and most recently after Irma and Maria, no one’s ever seen anything like what they’re about to face in Guatemala.
“You really have to put your hands and your true trust in God,” he said.