Va. search and rescue unit returns home after helping with rescue efforts in South Carolina

- Virginia Task Force One is back home after helping with recovery efforts in South Carolina.

Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue team arrived home to cheers and plenty of hugs after a week in South Carolina. The team assisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the flood-stricken region.

They arrived early Monday night to their headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia.

Family members, friends and even complete strangers came out to show their support for the 80 team members who traveled to West Columbia, South Carolina. There were even K-9 units who assisted in the mission.

The group returned home to a big crowd and big hugs.

During the week-long deployment, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department posted updates on its Twitter page showing the team in action.

The group assisted with water rescues and welfare checks on residents who had not been heard from for days.

Most of the people in Chantilly were thankful their loved ones made it back safe and sound.

“It's a good feeling to be back,” said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Captain Mark Schroeder. “We've been gone for a week assisting two counties in South Carolina. We had a total of four dog teams that were with us and we were poised, ready to help at all times.”

Schroeder said the most challenging part of the trip was witnessing the devastation.

“Just the flooding conditions, the homes, the total loss,” he said. “The road structures are still relatively compromised down there and it's going to take a long time to rebuild those areas.”

Most of the team’s time in South Carolina was split between Clarendon and Georgetown counties, the areas most impacted by the floodwaters.

From here, the task force will analyze all the data they collected from the flood-stricken region.

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