Wheeling Firefighters return from assisting with tornado relief in Kentucky

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WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF) – Firefighters from the Wheeling Fire Department are back from Kentucky. Local emergency services in the hardest hit areas were looking for help and they didn’t hesitate to answer the call. 

Not even a week has passed since the horrific tornadoes and severe weather caused damage to several states. Kentucky was one of the hardest states hit.  

Five Wheeling Firefighters return home after days of assisting Kentucky with disaster relief. The men say the damage was unbelievably shocking.  

The crew left on Sunday morning to travel to Mayfield, but were redirected to Bowling Green.  They spent the next several days assisting local emergency services. Firefighter Abraham Winter said that Bowling Green’s damage was catastrophic.  

We were assigned the task of searching, we were searching through some houses that have been collapsed, whole roofs ripped off. We had to search through it and make sure there weren’t more victims that were there.

Abraham Winter, Firefighter, Paramedic

The crew said they couldn’t believe their eyes. A house on one side of the road ripped to pieces and another almost completely untouched.

Firefighter Dawson Kemp said while they were searching, a few residents stood among the debris, still processing the tragic event. 

The citizens themselves were grateful we were there. We had to go to a property where the person was still on the property, not in a shelter somewhere. As soon as they found out we were from West Virginia they couldn’t’ believe we travelled that far to give them a hand.

Dawson Kemp, Firefighter 

Each of the crew members said there was no question, they wanted to help. They feel it meant a lot they were able to join forces with other firefighters because they would want the same response if the roles were reversed.  

Seeing people that needed help in their worst day, that’s definitely why we do it.

Dominik Vallera, Firefighter

It was a very eye-opening experience. I’ve never seen weather damage like that ever before, it was a very extraordinary weather event. So, to witness that in person was kind of, it kind of took you back a little.

Harry Myers, Firefighter EMT 

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