Wiltshire firefighter returns from Haiti

Wiltshire firefighter Dan Cooke has returned after spending 10 days helping to look for people buried in the ribble in Haiti.

Dan, who is a station manager based in Devizes, flew out to Haiti, within the first 24 hours after the earthquake struck.  He was on one of first flights out of the country to help with the rescue operation. 

There were 53 teams out there including 1800 rescue workers, 170 dogs which lead to 135 rescues.

Mr Cooke's team managed to rescue 3 people.  They used hammers and chisels to free a woman trapped beneath a collapsed concrete building in Port-au-Prince.  It took them six hours to dig the 39 year-old woman out.

He said: "It's a great lift but people think it's like scoring a point or scoring a goal and it's not. The moment you've done that you look around and see there is something else to do. It doesn't change the fact this is a catastrophe.''

"You hear gunfire, you see gangs of youths carrying machetes but to some extent that is part of the culture here. We are doing quite well. The UN security forces are attaching themselves to us and some teams have brought their own armed security. We have been working with other teams and local people and they have been fantastic.

"The conditions were very hot and dusty. There is always a smell of the dead and sometimes it is extremely potent. There are some very horrific scenes.''

Dan Cooke talks about his time in Haiti

 

 

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