Local firefighters return after Hawaii storm relief

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SAN DIEGO – Dozens of members of Task Force 8 slept in their own beds Tuesday night after returning from Hawaii’s tropical storm relief efforts.

A group of 35 firefighters from San Diego County went to Kauai, then moved to Oahu last week to be on standby as Hurricane Lane approached the islands. As time went on, the storm weakened to a tropical storm, but still brought relentless rain and winds.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief James Gaboury said one of the biggest challenges was just getting to know the lay of the land in Hawaii. The group landed at night and they area looked very different during the day.

“We were fortunate the storm wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Our services weren’t used to the maximum capacity that we were out there for and that’s a good thing for the folks of Hawaii,” Gaboury said.

The group is trained in search and rescue, structure collapses and water rescues. They’ve worked on other disasters like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

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