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Local firefighters sent to Fargo/Moorehead to aid in flood evacuations

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Local firefighters sent to Fargo/Moorehead to aid in flood evacuations
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

The Woodbury Public Safety Department has sent three fire fighters to assist other agencies in evacuating residents from their homes in the greater Fargo-Moorehead area, which has been dealing with anticipated record-flood levels since earlier this week.

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Three Woodbury officials loaded up an ambulance and met up with other emergency responders from around the metro Thursday at 5 a.m. to form a task force that was expected to conduct a 72-hour mission to help evacuate residential areas where flood waters were expected to crest in the area above 40 feet or more by the weekend.

The task force's first mission Thursday was to assist in evacuation of a 400-bed nursing home in Moorehead, said Todd Johnson, deputy director Woodbury Public Safety.

"One of the places they were evacuating last night, the water was at the doorstep just as they were loading up the last residents," Johnson said Friday. "The needs are real critical up there."

The nursing homes residents were transported to Detroit Lakes. The task force then assisted in evacuation effort in Wahpeton, North Dakota, which is about 50 mile south of Moorehead.

As of Friday, the task force, made up of six ambulances and an 18-bed emergency travel trailer, had assisted in three evacuations, Johnson said.

The Woodbury fire fighters were expected to return sometime this weekend.

"Once they return, we may circulate another group of responders to take their place," Johnson said.

This isn't the first time Woodbury Public Safety emergency responders have helped out in a flood disaster in the state or the country, Johnson said.

Woodbury emergency responders participated in regional response team effort for hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

"Not only is this a chance for us to help our neighbors," Johnson said, "but at the same time it also gives us practice so that, should we unfortunately have an emergency here (in Woodbury), we'll be better prepared."

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