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Published: 2020-08-26 22:41:00
Updated: 2020-08-26 22:53:52
Posted August 26, 2020 10:41 p.m. EDTUpdated August 26, 2020 10:53 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — As the Gulf Coast prepares for the landfall of Hurricane Laura early Thursday, one Raleigh fire official spoke with WRAL News Wednesday night about what it was like to help pick up the pieces after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
A first responder has to be prepared for anything, including Mother Nature. For Alan Wortham, fire captain of Ladder Three for Raleigh Fire, he said he’s seen his fair share of hurricanes and is always prepared to step in to help.
“As far as the devastation, Katrina was the worst, » Wortham said. « It was by far the most total devastation that I’ve seen. I believe it was a Category 5, and I know the one now is a Category 4.”
“People that want to ride out the storm, don’t do it, not something this big, » Wortham said.
“The storm came through in August, Katrina hit in August and we were there in December, » Wortham said. « The devastation was still very evident along the whole coastline.”
Wortham has responded to several hurricanes including Fran and Floyd in the 90s. He said Katrina is one he’ll never forget.
“Houses were just gone, » Wortham said. « Only the foundation was left. We saw slabs where houses have been built and they were just cleared out. The Walmart was gone. Everything along that coastline it hit in New Orleans, and we were in Mississippi, so that was how large the area Katrina hit.”
While his team hasn’t been called to help this time around, they’re always ready to take the call.
“We assist when we are called, » Wortham said. « We are state asset and we can respond. We haven’t been called or put on notice yet, but we train for it and we’re ready for it.
« If we need to, we will be there to respond to help the citizens down there.”
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