Among the devastation and destruction in New Orleans, sixteen area fire fighters wade through toxic waters, work command posts and help rescue what's left to be rescued.
"One or two at a time are picked off and assigned to task forces - some assigned to firefighter duties. Today some are doing decontamination duties," says Blackhawk Fire Chief Harry Tallacksen.
Tallacksen has spoken daily to members of the team. Fire fighters from Blackhawk, Rockford, and Belvidere Departments, to name a few, left for the gulf coast Monday.
Their assignment got off to a slow start - a lot of waiting and hoping for jobs to do.
"They’re staying next to an actual functioning building and someone wanted the bathrooms cleaned and everyone jumped up and said ‘I’ll do it” so they wouldn’t have to just sit around and wait for something to do," says Tallacksen.
But since Wednesday - Tallacksen says that has changed. Fire fighters are now busy at work. The conditions they speak of are deplorable.
"All of our people are wearing breathing masks all day long because some people haven't and have gotten sick.”
Tallacksen says none of our firefighters have been sick.
They’re scheduled to return home in two weeks. But Tallacksen says it is likely more Stateline volunteers will be asked to head back to the gulf coast to lend a hand once again.