BOSTON (CBS) – Overwhelmed by what they witnessed, rescuers from the Southeastern Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team returned home after helping the victims of Hurricane Florence.

“Devastating and more flooding than I have ever seen in my lifetime and the displacement of the civilians and pets down there was phenomenal,” Deputy of Logistics Sean Page said.

Team Leader Robert O’Brien says their job consisted of water missions and wide area searches.

Robert O’Brien (WBZ-TV)

“We went to areas devastated by floods and searched homes, cars to see if anyone was there or animals,” O’Brien said.

Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolinas, destroying homes and claimed at least 46 lives.

Photo Courtesy: SE-MA TRT

For O’Brien and his crew, it was their first mission out of state as a rescue team.

“We did save some animals and some puppies and hydrated them,” he said.

Photo Courtesy: SE-MA TRT

A total of 46 people took part in the ten day mission. They say they went down as professional rescuers. Tuesday morning they return home having witnessed something remarkable.

“Some of the areas we went to people had nothing and they were gracious to us and asked us if we needed anything and we were there to help them,” O’Brien said.

Exhausted and worn out, they say they will never forget the families they met and who they helped.  “We saw neighbors helping each other out.  We saw everybody working together. It was an incredible learning experience for us,” O’Brien said.

Paul Burton

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