National Fire Crews Arrive In Gregg County

For more than two weeks volunteers have been searching the piney woods of east Texas looking for debris from the Columbia.

This week 90 teams of specially trained fire crews from around the nation are flying in to the Gregg county airport to take their place.

"They called us Friday night about 9 o'clock that we would be coming to Texas," says Allen Lawson.

Forty men and women from all over the nation arrived Monday afternoon in Gregg county.

They come from Kansas & Virginia, "man it feels good here. We left an ice storm," says Lawson of Virginia.

They come from California, Peurto Rico and Florida as well.

"We enjoyed the weather.When we left it was 80 degrees and it was starting to get humid again. We got here and it was nice and cool," says Kevin Michalek of Florida.

In all 90 crews, with state and national forest services, will arrive here through-out the week.

They are usually called to fight fires but their specialized training makes them valuable here as well.

"We do a lot of gridding and mopping up for hot spots and these guys are good at that. They know how to cover the ground and find what they need to find," says Joe Morris of Kansas.

"Part of our job is to help out wherever we can. We're a national resource. Whatever they need, we're there to do it," says Kevin.

Each member of these crews come ready to work virtually non-stop for fourteen days.

There are no hotel reservations to make.

They'll camp outside after the day's work is complete.

"We have 14 days of supplies in those packs. We got everything we need to ride for 14-days. Tents, sleeping bags, change of clothes," says Joe.

From here the crew travels by van.

They're headed to Nacogoches, Hemphill or Palestine.

They'll continue the, now two week, search for what is left of the Columbia.

Amy Tatum, reporting.