Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova issued a statement yesterday about her conference call with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, VATF-1, in Japan, and its co-head Chief Joe Knerr.
She said, “I appreciated the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of what is happening on the ground and to thank family members who called in for a family teleconference. According to Chief Knerr the nature of the devastation in Ofunato has resulted in no live rescues. None the less, his team has maintained good spirits, and they are holding out hope that they will find victims. They recognize that with each passing hour, the likelihood of doing so dwindles.” VATF-1 is stationed in an elementary school 10 miles from the search area.
On Tuesday, with a temperature of 23 degrees and a couple of inches of snow on the ground, VATF-1 searched an area of Ofunato two square kilometers in size, and located eight deceased victims. “Our team will remain on the ground until they are told by the Japanese leadership to stop. They are constantly monitoring the radiation levels and using every means available to stay informed of what’s happening. The trouble reactors are to their south, and they are monitoring winds to make sure they avoid any potential problems. They’ve been experiencing some small aftershocks on a regular basis,” Bulova said.