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Indiana Task Force 1 returns home from Maui

Posted at 11:36 AM, Aug 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-28 21:42:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Task Force 1 has completed their mission in Maui, Hawaii and returned home on Monday.

Over a week ago, the 70-member team was deployed to the island to help with search and rescue efforts after deadly wildfires, that claimed 115 lives and left hundreds missing.

Task Force 1 was joined by four other teams to search eight square miles of the island.

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WRTV learned the team searched a four story apartment building that was heavily hit by fires.

According to the Task Force leader the fire burned at over 2,000 degrees, which disintegrated most things in it's path. The team worked with local law enforcement to get last known locations of missing people. When dogs alerted their handlers, the team had to take to other measures to make sure they found human remains.

"We brought in anthropologists and they were the ones that went through to determine if it was truly human remains that was there or if it was something else and then they would process it from there," Jay Settergren Task Force 1 Leader for the Maui mission said.

Representatives from dozens of Indiana departments were assigned tasks from logistics, technical search and rescue, and hazmat to clean toxic chemicals. They were even assigned trauma doctors, according to Settergren.

Task Force 1 is working to get their equipment back from Maui. Team members are still there working on getting it back. Task Force 1 may be getting deployed again for tropical storm Idalia, which is expected to turn in to a hurricane. They said they will know more about that deployment in the coming days.