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Plano Fire-Rescue responds to fires, hurricane



PLANO, TX – Plano Fire-Rescue has been on the scene in the wake of fires in California and in the wake of Hurricane Laura, which impacted the Beaumont, Texas area and made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane this week.

The department has a total of 10 personnel that have been deployed, said Chris Biggerstaff, Plano Fire-Rescue Emergency Services Division assistant chief.

Plano Fire-Rescue this week saw two of its Wildland firefighters deployed to California to assist in the SCU Lightning Complex fires. The two were sent as part of a four-person team with members of the Frisco Fire Department, Plano Fire-Rescue Capt. Peggy Harrell said.

The resource response was part of a Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System North East Division support effort, Harrell said.

“This Plano/Frisco FD four-person staffing partnership is part of a larger element consisting of two TIFMAS strike teams of Type 3 engines inbound for the state of California to assist with current wildfires challenging the state,” she said.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the SCU Lightning Complex fires began on Aug. 18 and cover over 370,000 acres as of Friday afternoon. The fires are 35% contained as of Friday afternoon, according to the department website.

The deployment to California is expected to last for 14 days, Harrell said.

Also this week, Plano Fire-Rescue sent two firefighters with Frisco Fire Department members to the Beaumont area in advance of Hurricane Laura and what was then Tropical Storm Marco.

There are currently eight Plano Fire-Rescue personnel in the Beaumont area assisting with response efforts, Biggerstaff said.

The personnel in the Beaumont area are doing a variety of different tasks, including search and rescue, Biggerstaff said. One is serving as a rescue swimmer.

“So what they’ll do with him in some cases is take them there by helicopter and drop them off to do rescues,” Biggerstaff said. “So he’s got a pretty neat job that he does there.”

In addition, as people are transported out of the Beaumont area on buses, firefighter paramedics will be placed on the bus, along with their medical supplies in order to take care of any medical needs, Biggerstaff said.

Another team is on an AMBUS, a bus that is similar to an ambulance that might be used to help evacuate hospitals or nursing homes, Biggerstaff said.

Plano Fire-Rescue also sent a special operations swift water rescue boat, Harrell said. The boat was sent with two firefighters in a group from multiple fire departments across the Metroplex who have swift water boats. The Plano Fire-Rescue boat has since been sent back.