Roaring Fork emergency team heads for Gulf Coast | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork emergency team heads for Gulf Coast

Naomi Havlen

Six emergency workers from the Roaring Fork Valley left Friday morning for Baton Rouge, La., to lend their expertise to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.The team was chosen by Pitkin County’s Multi-Agency Coordination Group, headed by Ron Leach, chief of the Carbondale Fire Department. The trip is at the request of Emergency Mutual Aid Compact, which represents all of the states in the country except Hawaii and California.The six local representatives left at 6 a.m. Friday morning, driving two sport utility vehicles to Baton Rouge. They expected to arrive at a staging area by early this morning. The team includes team leader Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson, Aspen Fire Department Chief Darryl Grob, Ron Ryan of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Chief Carl Smith and Vern Holmes of the Carbondale Fire Department and Mark Gamrat, director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Communications Center.The men will remain in the area for 16 days, relieving exhausted rescue workers at a staging area and taking over management of a camp of 400 workers. The staging area includes vendors on site with food, water and showers for rescue workers.The team also has a satellite telephone and will be in daily contact with the Pitkin County Multi-Agency Coordination group, according to Marie Munday, a spokeswoman for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.The group has been ready to depart for the Gulf Coast since last week and was anxiously awaiting the formal request from Colorado’s branch of Emergency Mutual Aid Compact.”We have a really great team and we are excited about this opportunity to help people who have been devastated by Katrina,” Thompson said in a prepared statement.Six other firefighters from the valley are already in the New Orleans area helping with relief efforts, along with a truck from Basalt that can draw water from streams, lakes and hydrants and a truck that can provide mechanical support.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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