MENLO PARK, Calif. (KTVU) - A caravan carrying the California Water Rescue Team arrived in Menlo Park Thursday afternoon, after a 3-day drive from hurricane-ravaged Texas.
Leader Jim Stevens described what about the aftermath stood out to him the most.
"Just how widespread it was. It wasn't just one little area had flooded. It was pretty much everywhere," said Stevens.
It was hugs and handshakes for the group also known as Task Force 3.
15 members arrived include firefighters from Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Jose and South San Francisco.
The emergency team was deployed 10 days ago and assigned to water search and rescues in rural areas around Wharton, Texas.
They shared drone video showing what looks like rivers and lakes but instead is a town under water.
The team says it's the first time FEMA sanctioned use of a drone for search operations.
"It gives you good bird's eye view of the devastation and just how far it reaches out," said Tony Eggimann, who operates the drone.
Just as that team was returning came word that dozens of other rescuers from fire departments all over the Peninsula and South Bay are preparing to head out for Hurricane Irma, including Joe Crivello from the San Jose Fire Department.
"What we're going to do now is get this group back in, check them in. There's a lot of equipment on their rigs we need to rehab and get up and running so we are ready to go when we do get the activation order," said Crivello.
He will be part of a second team of 70 rescuers from Task Force 3 that are preparing to head to Florida to help with Hurricane Irma.
Although they're not yet sure exactly when they'll leave or where they're headed.
The team will include firefighters from the following jurisdictions:
Santa Clara County
South San Francisco
Drone video-Please courtesy:
Capt. Eggiman/Menlo Park UAV Program