Members of a Nebraska task force evacuated residents of a North Carolina assisted-living facility at risk of flooding in the wake of Florence.
Nebraska Task Force One on Saturday night moved 124 residents from a Fayetteville facility to Shiloh Methodist Church as a precaution against rising rivers, said Roger Bonin, chief of the Lincoln Fire & Rescue Department’s emergency medical services division. Bonin is leading the 41-member Nebraska Task Force One, made up of firefighters from Lincoln, Omaha, Papillion and Grand Island, plus a doctor and canine handlers.
“I want to say how proud I am of our team members,” Bonin said. “This was a difficult task last night. The assistant fire chief in Fayetteville told me that he was really impressed with how we treated the residents.”
The evacuation began about 7 p.m. and finished about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Bonin said. The residents, about half of whom were in wheelchairs, were taken to the church via buses and vans.
The assisted-living facility is beside the Cape Fear River, which is in danger of flooding, Bonin said.
Florence weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday after blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph winds on Friday, but the storm was still spinning slowly atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.
Bonin said he expects the task force to make many more evacuations and rescues in the coming days as rivers continue to rise. A mandatory evacuation order is in place for 7,500 Fayetteville residents living within about a mile of the Cape Fear River. The city is about 100 miles inland.
“The major water won’t start hitting here for 24 to 72 hours,” Bonin said.