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(UPDATE: Sept. 16 @ 9 am) - After a week of hard work, a group of BC firefighters has returned home from the Bahamas.
Members of the Burnaby Fire Department, Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson and four rescue dogs touched down at Vancouver International Airport on Sunday.
They spent the last week aiding with post-Dorian recovery work in the Bahamas and even located a missing Canadian man in the process.
"Thank you everyone for your support," tweeted Watkinson, who surely deserves a couple relaxing days off with Sammy.
"Big thanks to JetBlue on making the flight comfortable for disaster dog Sammy.
This morning the team drove up to #TreasureCay to search for missing #Canadian. Fortunately She found her way to safety in Marsh Harbour in #abaco. The team is organizing logistics now to work our way home. Thank you #BahamasStrong for you hospitality. pic.twitter.com/zUEizHbIJm— Penticton Fire Dept. (@pentictonfire) September 12, 2019
We made it home to #Penticton. Thanks to @cathaypacific and there incredible, #caring and #professional staff. A BIG #shoutout to: @cityofpenticton @cathaypacific @JetBlue @IAFF323 #BahamasStrong #media and everyone that supported our #USAR team responding to #Dorian disaster. pic.twitter.com/DWSvQz3yQT— Penticton Fire Dept. (@pentictonfire) September 15, 2019
(UPDATE: Sept. 12 @ 11 am) - A group of BC firefighters assisting with recovery efforts in the Bahamas have found missing Canadian man Dale Hill.
He was pulled from the rubble in the small town of Mudd, which was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.
Great work by our volunteer group of @IAFF323 Burnaby Firefighters #USAR team to locate Canadian Dale Hill safe and sound.— Burnaby Fire (@BurnabyFireDept) September 11, 2019
Team is working hard in area “Mudd” but are all safe and healthy @CityofBurnaby @pentictonfire @MayorofBurnaby @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/NeVOn2U0PH
A tweet from the Burnaby Fire Department said the "team is working hard in (the) area (of) Mudd, but are all safe and health."
The group of firefighters includes Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson and his rescue dog Sammy.
A complex and successful day with @IAFF323 USAR team working in Marsh Harbour of #Abaco. Sadly this shanty town has been devastated by #Dorian. @pentictonfire Disaster Dog Sam is really showing his talent in the most extreme conditions. #proudchief pic.twitter.com/sZeDlXEzLV— Penticton Fire Dept. (@pentictonfire) September 11, 2019
Through Twitter, the Penticton Fire Department has been sharing snapshots of their efforts.
One tweet says it's very hot and there's limited shade, with an accompanying photo that shows the pair taking a brief break with piles upon piles of rubble behind them.
Another shows Watkinson and Sammy taking a quick second to take in what seems like a peaceful view of a bright blue ocean, a photo that almost makes you forget about the devastation surrounding them.
A beautiful moment in a very difficult time searching at #pelicanshore in #abaco with My Best Friend Sammy/disaster dog taking in a peaceful minute in #bahamas. Picture credit @IAFF323 firefighter. pic.twitter.com/Br7vQSzt7t— Penticton Fire Dept. (@pentictonfire) September 11, 2019
(Original story: Sept. 9 @ 1:30 pm) - Hurricane Dorian pounded the Bahamas last week, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
As the island nation starts to try and rebuild, there’s been no shortage of support coming from all over the world.
That support network includes members of the Burnaby Fire Department, who are being joined on their mission by Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson and his rescue dog Sammy.
Watkinson and Sammy are one of four canine teams who arrived in Nassau on Sunday before jumping on another plane for a short flight to Marsh Harbour.
“We made it,” wrote the Penticton Fire Department Twitter account when the pair arrived. “Just getting organized, then heading to the base camp.”
Finally! We made it, just getting organized, then heading to the base camp. pic.twitter.com/5mZwdOA0DX— Penticton Fire Dept. (@pentictonfire) September 8, 2019
Now that they’re in Marsh Harbour, the goal will be rescue and recovery efforts in an area that’s been totally devastated by the powerful Hurricane Dorian.
So far, the PFD has done a great job of documenting Watkinson and Sammy’s journey on Twitter.
They’ve posted photos of Sammy in airports, relaxing on the plane and finally arriving in the Bahamas (and arguably needing some sunglasses).
We expect the photos to keep coming as Watkinson and Sammy continue their heroes’ work in the Bahamas, so follow the PFD on Twitter if you haven’t already!