Philly firefighters work tirelessly to help in Houston

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Philly firefighters work tirelessly to help in Houston. Chad Pradelli reports during Action News at 4:30pm on September 1, 2017. (WPVI)

As the country continues to keeps its eyes - and its heart - trained on Texas, the city of Philadelphia has also been lending a hand.

Pennsylvania's Task Force 1, which includes part of Philadelphia's fire department, has been on the ground in Houston. They are one of 28 elite search and rescue teams in the country.

They've been working around the clock all week, saving lives and working to restore a community.

"It's probably one of the worst floodings I have ever seen. It's basically everywhere we go," said Capt. Jim Kelly.

Capt. Kelly and his fellow members have been persisting on only a few hours of sleep. Their mission is to search abandoned vehicles for bodies, or survivors in need of rescue.

"Everywhere we went they are thanking us, very appreciative. They can't believe we came from Philadelphia," Kelly said.

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Chad Pradelli reports from flood zone in Texas. Watch his report during Action News at 4pm on August 30, 2017.



Task force members are deployed by FEMA, the federal Emergency Management Agency. They are trained in six different disciplines.

"Most dangerous, what we have here," Kelly said. "Water is unpredictable. It can look smooth on top, but underneath it can just take you away."

Dan Hartman is the leader of Task Force 1.

"I started with Hurricane Floyd and worked my way to 9/11," he said.

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Chad Pradelli reports from the flood zone in Houston, Texas on Action News at 5pm on August 29, 2017.



Hartman says the team is self-sufficient. It brought bedding, food, water, and satellite gear to link back to Philadelphia.

"They have GPS units, they have specific icons that when they ping it, it tells them this hazard is at this specific location," he said.

Task Force 1 doesn't know when it'll go home. For now, they are on standby and will be ready at a moment's notice to move.

"Guys kind of feed off the adrenaline rush, they just kind of function like a well-oiled machine," said Capt. John Fogg of Task Force 1.

Hurricane Irma is now making its way towards the United States, and this team could be very well find itself having to respond to yet another disaster.

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