British Columbia

Burnaby firefighters arrive in Bahamas to help communities hit by Hurricane Dorian

A group of Burnaby firefighters has arrived in the Bahamas to help with the search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Team of volunteers to help communities most affected by the hurricane

Damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, Sept. 2, 2019. (Dante Carrer/Reuters)

Nine Burnaby firefighters have joined local efforts in the Bahamas to search for victims and survivors in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

The team of volunteers also includes a Penticton fire chief, a search and rescue volunteer, a retired firefighter and a City of Burnaby employee. 

It's been almost a week since the deadly hurricane struck. At least 44 people have been killed, and some communities continue to be isolated by floodwaters and debris.

"We take pride in our Burnaby firefighters," said Burnaby Deputy Fire Chief Dave Samson. "That's what they're willing to do to help others when they need help."

Retired firefighter Mark Pullen is one of the volunteers who has travelled to the Bahamas, Samson added. He says Pullen, who is 64 years old, started the initiative a few years ago and has travelled to help multiple disaster-struck areas over the years.  

The team will be there for seven days and will help with search and rescue efforts as well as body recovery, Samson added. 

"They will, you know, identify what the stability of certain buildings are and mark them using all the proper marking techniques that are internationally recognized," he added. 

Scenes of devastation greet rescuers in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

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      He says support has been amazing, including from companies who've covered flight costs for the volunteers, who would otherwise have to pay their flights out of pocket. 

      The team has been deployed before to help, including to hurricane Katrina in 2005 and to Nepal in 2015, following a deadly earthquake.

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