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Indiana Task Force 1 encounters tragedy in N. Carolina after tree falls on home killing mom & baby

Indiana Task Force 1 encounters tragedy in N. Carolina after tree falls on home killing mom & baby
Posted at 3:55 PM, Sep 14, 2018

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Indiana first responders are already hard at work on as Hurricane Florence continues to pound parts of the east coast. 

Indiana Task Force 1 members were in Wilmington, North Carolina Friday assisting Wilmington Fire Department after the hurricane winds knocked a tree onto a home, trapping a mother and infant. 

Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Michael Pruitt said Task Force 1 was called to help the Wilmington Fire Department around 10:30 a.m. after a large tree had fallen onto a home and trapped three people inside. 

After several hours crews were able free a man who was trapped under the tree, he was taken ot the hospital with unknown injuries. 

It took crews another three hours to get the mother and the infant from under the tree. Neither of them survived. 

"They had literally tried a ton of different avenues to try to get this tree off the top of them.  It was very large, it was blowing, it was raining hard, it was limited space to get rescue equipment in," said Pruitt. "So when we arrived, we basically took our equipment with our personal and integrated in with the Wilmington Fire Department and spent the next three hours working to access the mother and her infant.  We knew the mother was deceased, we determined that from early on, but we could not see the infant.  So once we made access after three hours we were able to access the infant also and determined neither the mother or the infant had made it."

Crews worked to free the two from the home but were unable to rescue them. A male occupant in the home was rescued by the Wilmington Fire Department. 

Task Force 1 members from departments across the state were activated Monday to assist with the rescue and relief efforts for Hurricane Florence. 

PHOTOS | Hurricane Florence's destruction

Florence made landfall late Thursday evening and Task Force 1 shared a video on their Twitter page Friday morning, showing the extreme wind gusts, some reaching 105 mph as the hurricane arrived near their base of operations in Wilmington. 

As of Friday evening, Hurricane Florence had claimed five lives in North Carolina. 

You can follow along with Indiana Task Force 1's Twitter page for updates. 

"Right now, we get our marching orders from the state of North Carolina and Wilmington and the surrounding public safety agencies.  So as things pop up, they can be through the night, we have rescue squads ready to go, pack up, and head out to assist however we can," said Pruitt. "The rain and the wind have just continued to pound down on us all day long."


Facebook has activated a safety check on their Hurricane Florence crisis response page. That's where individuals can declare themselves "safe." It's also where communities can request specific supply needs or offer aid.