Law enforcement, volunteers nationwide descend on Texas coast

Teams from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived in Beaumont Sunday to prepare for rescue missions in Houston. (Stephen Quinn |

Two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, news of the destruction it had caused played out nationwide on television and through social media. Harvey, now a tropical storm, continued to batter flooded communities Sunday across east Texas.

In the midst of the severe weather a stream of law enforcement personnel and volunteers from across the country began to arrive in places like Beaumont, Texas. A 25-man team from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived at Ford Park where rescue teams began staging. Their mission will be to assist first responders in Houston, where thousands have already been rescued from historic flooding. The National Weather Service said parts of the city could see more than 50 inches of rain.

"I think we're going to be working some long days for quite awhile," said Major Jay Russell, a veteran of Florida hurricanes who will lead the team into Houston.

Russell's experience tells him the work which lies ahead could help save lives, "When you get this call, you know everybody here had plans but you don't even think about that because because when you see the families and the children in the people in need that's that personal connection of you want to go and you want to be able to do whatever you can to help.

Mitch Heitman and his men from Perfection Property Restoration arrived Sunday from Illinois with their sights on another daunting task: repairs public buildings damaged by flooding. "A lot of people don't like to do that stuff, so somebody has to."

The company's emergency response team, which features a mobile command center, works with insurers to clean out schools and hospitals in this case which are sure to be damaged by Harvey. It's a job which Heitman believes will likely take months, "It's very difficult you know it's very hard to see people react to the condition of what their building is or home when they get back into something like this."

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