WILMINGTON, N.C. – Members of Indiana Task Force 1 hadn’t even been officially cleared to go out into the hurricane conditions yet when they responded to a tragic scene in Wilmington, North Carolina.
A massive tree had fallen directly into the bedroom of one family’s house. Local firefighters had already saved the father inside, but a mother and her baby were still trapped in the home.
"Their rescue teams had been working for several hours and they were flat worn out. Not only were they tired, but the weather was punishing at that time of day," said Mike Pruitt of Indiana Task Force 1.
Despite the combined efforts of those first responders, the mother and her infant became not only the first fatalities of Hurricane Florence, but also proof that there is nowhere totally safe in a storm like Florence.
"Going to shelters is always the safe bet, but for whatever reason, they didn't choose to do that and it ended up with a sad ending," said Pruitt.
The exhausted firefighters and task force members knelt together to say a prayer for the lives lost in Wilmington. They say they will lean on each other throughout what will be a long fight against a slow moving storm.
"It's a very tough morning for the first responders here in Wilmington and a sad story to start off this hurricane situation,” said Pruitt.