By Nick Giovanni

BEVERLY (CBS) — Members of Massachusetts Task Force 1 began arriving back at their Beverly base around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, having spent roughly a week in Louisiana.

“The area we were working in had some fairly catastrophic damage,” said Task Force Leader Sean Brown.

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The 80-member team was comprised of police officers, firefighters, doctors, EMTs, engineers, and communications specialists from around New England. They saw, first-hand, the path of destruction left behind from Hurricane Ida while helping with recovery efforts.

“The utilities were destroyed in a lot of areas, railroad tracks completely uprooted, buildings destroyed,” said Brown. “And it was certainly a situation that appears to have a long road to recovery down in that area.”

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According to Brown, the team helped with everything, from searching collapsed buildings for anyone possibly trapped, boat operations, and a range of other critical tasks. They worked predominantly in St. John’s, St. James, and St. Charles parishes.

“Nobody wants to see anything like this happen, but these things do happen,” said Brown. “This is what we train to do. This is what all of the task force personnel are prepared to do. And when we’re able to utilize our skills and abilities to make somebody else’s day better, to save a life, it makes all that training worth it.”

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Upon returning to base, the task force’s first stop was for medical screenings. Before getting some much-needed rest, they also had to unpack, clean all of their gear, then re-pack to be ready for the next time they’re called on to help.

Nick Giovanni