Metro first responders return home after rescuing people, animals stranded in aftermath of Harvey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Texas asked for help, volunteers in the Kansas City metro stepped up.

Local first responders are home, having given of themselves in the Houston area, where flood waters left by Hurricane Harvey are still high and deep. A couple of dozen firefighters are home, having donated their time to help people whose homes are gone. One of them has stories and photos to share.

"It's going to take a long time because they're still not cleaned up," Kansas City Fire Capt. Chad Dailey told FOX 4 News on Tuesday.

It's just what he's hired to do. That's about the way Kansas City Fire Department Capt. Dailey describes his six-day voluntary trip to flood-ravaged Houston, Texas. Over the past week, he and 23 other voluntary first responders from the Kansas City metro volunteered their time using fan boats to rescue people from murky flood waters and ruined homes.

"We checked several hundred houses per day," Capt. Dailey said.

Dailey's phone is filled with photos, showing his KCFD crew, as well as rescuers from the Central Jackson County Fire Prevention District, in action. For nearly a week, the two dozen workers used six boats, all of which belong to Kansas City Fire, to pull people from the roofs of their homes and to rescue animals barely clinging to life.

"We train our whole careers to do that kind of stuff. When we see something like this happen, we'd love to go be a part of it," Capt. Dailey said on Tuesday, a short time after the crew returned home.

The Kansas City-based crews answered a statewide call for any trained rescuers to go to work in less than ideal circumstances. As of Tuesday evening, the death toll Hurricane Harvey left behind in Texas had reached 60.

"When we show up, we can't rely on them for food, shelter, gasoline, anything like that. Laundry, if we're there long enough," Capt. Dailey said.

And meanwhile, family members, such as the Daileys' daughter, Chloe, were worried sick about these crews in Houston. Chloe, 19, was glued to her cell phone, where she regularly received photos sent back from this goodwill mission.

"The pictures are incredible," Chloe Dailey, who ironically, is planning to enter the U.S. Coast Guard soon, said.

"I know he's safe about what he does. I know why he's going. He's definitely a hero in my eyes. His job, in general, I've always thought of him as a hero."

Captain Dailey says he and these other heroes from the Kansas City area also volunteered their time for American tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and service in New York City during 911. Captain Dailey says if another call to duty arises, he believes they'll go there as well. That might include the southern United States again, depending on the course Hurricane Irma takes.

Workers at KCFD's Fire Training Center tell FOX 4 News the same boats are being prepared in case they're needed immediately.