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Tampa Bay fire crews return home from Hurricane Florence deployment

Posted: 9:58 PM, Sep 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-27 03:25:49Z

LUTZ, Fla. — Tampa Bay firefighters and emergency personnel returned home Wednesday from a two-week deployment in North Carolina, assisting with recovery efforts in the hurricane-ravaged state. 

The team is comprised of members of Pasco County Fire Rescue, Pasco County Emergency Management, Florida Department of Emergency Management, USF Emergency Management, Pinellas County Emergency Management, Lakeland Fire Rescue, and Lakeland PD.

Pasco firefighter Moose Mustafa is no stranger to deployments having served three tours for the U.S. Army. 

"That's why we're on this planet," said Mustafa. "Helping people is the most important thing we could do."

Team members were on the ground offering logistical support alongside the North Carolina National Guard in Brunswick County. 

"Their county had basically been divided into four islands so a lot of air support was going on," said John Maddox, Battalion Chief for the Lakeland Fire Department. "They were still pulling a lot of people off rooftops, off the tops of vehicles."

Family members embraced local first responders, thankful for their safe return. 

"I just pray that every day that he's going to be fine and come back to us and just know he will and that he's there helping the other people," said Sarah Mustafa.