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Missouri Task Force 1 sends specialist to Puerto Rico

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A Missouri Task Force One (MO-TF1) member landed in Puerto Rico last night to assist FEMA in response to the recent earthquakes that struck the area.

"It's part of the incident support team that FEMA assigned down in Puerto Rico, they reached out to MO-TF1 and requested a structural specialist so that member of the task force deployed yesterday," said Gale Blomenkamp the Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief.

The MO-TF1 member will be working as part of the FEMA Incident Support Team with local agencies as requested and assisting with damage assessments in affected areas.

"Every emergency starts local and ends local, so as locals identify needs that they can not match or that they can't meet, they'll reach out to FEMA or to the national level and that's where our people are," Blomenkamp said.

Officials said it is unknown how long he will be in Puerto Rico.

"He arrived there late last night, we talked to him this morning and he is in staging so he's just waiting for an assignment," said Blomenkamp.

Blomenkamp said MO-TF1 has been sent out 10 times in the last three years.

"MO-TF1 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams for FEMA in the country so they reach out to us all the time," Blomenkamp said. "Right now we're set at number 5 in the nation in the rotation so the likelihood of being deployed between now and the end of 2020 is pretty high."

MO-TF1 also assisted in Puerto Rico for hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We reached out to Municipal Public Utility Alliance about assistance in Puerto Rico - officials said, "At this time we don't have any plans."

Stay with ABC 17 News for more information on this developing story.

Missouri / National News / News / Top Stories / Top Stories

Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto started working with ABC 17 News in June after graduating from California State University-Channel Islands with a degree in organizational communication. He reports weekday evenings and weekend mornings.

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