Three members of Kent-based Puget Sound Fire recently returned from helping with search and rescue efforts in Maui.
Capt. Martin Oliver, Capt. Tyler Kuske and Battalion Chief Andy Nevens were part of Washington State Task Force 1 deployed to Maui in response to the devastating wildfires. At least 115 people died in the fires last month, according to hawaiinewsnow.com.
The team was deployed Aug. 11 to support Hawaii and conducted search and rescue and recovery missions, according to the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, which helps oversee the task force. The original Type 3 team of 45 people was expanded on Aug. 13 to a total of 85 for a Type 1 team. A K-9 human remains detection group and K-9 search and rescue dogs were also part of the team.
Most members returned Aug. 26. Oliver’s returned was delayed until Aug. 29 as he assisted two other team members with loading the Task Force cache of supplies and equipment, according to Puget Sound Fire.
“We sincerely thank Capt. Oliver, Battalion Chief Nevens, Capt. Kuske, and all the men and women from Washington State Task Force 1 for their professionalism, hard work and their dedication to serving others in their time of need,” according to a Puget Sound Fire statement. “Thank you for everything you did for the Maui citizens and their community.”
Task Force 1 includes representatives from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Seattle Fire Department, South King Fire and Rescue, Tacoma Fire Department, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, West Pierce Fire and Rescue, Bellevue Fire Department, Puget Sound Fire, Shoreline Fire Department, Renton Regional Fire Department, Gig Harbor Fire Department, Mercer Island Fire Department, Bothell Fire Department, Redmond Fire Department, Coeur d’Alene Fire Department, Kirkland Fire Department, Eastside Fire & Rescue, Tacoma Public Utilities, Pierce County Planning and Public Works and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management.
The entire task force is comprised of more than 210 team members, drawn from a variety of organizations including fire departments, hospitals, law enforcement, private companies and public works agencies. Canine teams accompany task force members on all deployments.
The task force is equipped and ready to deploy within six hours of receiving its orders.