HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - At the height of Hurricane Zeta’s onslaught, one Hancock County couple had the scare of a lifetime. Last night, the stairs that led to a home belonging to the parents of Trey Camardelle were separated from the house.
When Zeta’s winds sent the house flying to the ground, Camardelle’s parents, still inside, called him.
“It was a rough time hearing them call me from inside the house," said Camardelle. “Telling me that their house just collapsed and that they can’t get anyone out.”
Camardelle, a fireman in Louisiana, knew that there was another problem.
“At a certain point in time in storms, there’s a setting on the sustained winds and if it’s over a certain amount, they don’t dispatch calls," said Camardelle. “So, they put you on a list.”
Winds were already at that point where calls couldn’t be dispatched. And as soon as Bayside Fire Department Fire Chief Tony Johnston heard the nature of the call, he rushed to the scene himself and found the couple in the house.
“I was here for probably about six minutes by myself," said Johnston. “I was able to walk in the front door and see the patients. When I was, the other trucks pull up, I didn’t know who was coming. I didn’t know who they were at first. When they pulled up, they just kind of took over, which was great.”
The team that showed up was the Mississippi Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue Team.
“Due to the heightened conditions of the storm, local EMS was unable to respond," said Task Force leader Ben McMinn. “Our team had to adapt and use a high water truck from the Mississippi Highway Patrol to get those patients to emergency care.”
McMinn said that the whole process for his team took roughly 15 minutes. But while it’s his job, McMinn said his work has a higher meaning.
“It is a calling," said McMinn. “It is something that we do specifically to save lives. This is something that we all feel called and led to do and we’re thankful for the opportunity to help.”
WLOX was told that the couple rescued from the house is recovering in a hospital in Louisiana and is in stable condition awaiting surgery.