MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Through cheers and applause, truck after truck rolled into Miami Friday as family, friends, and coworkers welcomed home task force two and the strike team that spent nearly two weeks in the Florida Panhandle helping the victims of Hurricane Michael.
The fanfare started on the highway with a police escort and South Florida fire trucks clearing the way for the team returning from the hardest hit areas.
Task force 2 spent 12 grueling days going door to door and searching thru piles of rubble in Mexico Beach that was nearly flattened in the storm.
Carlos Garcia said he was thankful to be back with his family.
“We had a goal to account for 178 victims and we achieved our goal,” he said acknowledging that a handful of those 178 included victims who didn’t survive.
His wife Patricia said the time away was tough to endure.
“We didn’t get to speak to him because a lack of cellphone service. But it is a blessing to be with someone who does this type of work.”
Also, Friday the Miami-Dade Fire rescue urban search and Rescue team and Task Force 1, comprised of 80 people was welcomed home in Doral.
They too were in the hurricane strike zone, reuniting families and passing out food and water.
“It was devastating but they are pulling together and things are happening already,” said Andre Cruzeta as he was greeted by his family with hugs and lots of
“We were able to give them necessities for a few days until FEMA can help with the long-term effects,” said MDFR chief Andy Alvarez.