Updated: 09-07-2005 04:21:42 PM



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Paul Pinsonat, Training Officer and member of the Baton Rouge Fire Department USAR Team was in New Orleans with rescue boats Tuesday morning after the storm rolled through Monday. Through Saturday he said they evacuated to dry ground nearly 1400 people. The team was initially 22 with several EMS people also. By the second day it grew to 40-50 as more volunteered to go in. Each day, since they were close they drove in but left before dark for security reasons.

They regularly cut into houses through roofs and floors to rescue residents. The most dramatic might have been the woman who had been trapped in her bathroom in water up to her chest. She was in her 5th day as the team came through the roof to reach her. Extremely dehydrated, she was transported to safety. Their largest rescue was from a school where over 300 had gathered waiting for help. They were transported to a highway and taken to a shelter. Pinsonat said the water was getting pretty contaminated and unhealthy by Saturday. They are now back at their regular duties as new team are cycled into the city.

Firefighters from New York City immediately jumped into action when they arrived early last Monday morning to help New Orleans firefighters, who were in need of some rest. Some 320 FDNY firefighters set foot in town after a flight on a military plane.