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City Firefighter Battled Ida at Home and Abroad


(September 10, 2021) - In addition to his service to the City of New Brunswick as a Captain with the Fire Department, Chris Stellatella also serves with New Jersey's Task Force 1, a part of the National Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Response System. NJ-TF1 was deployed to the Gulf Region ahead  of the arrival of what was soon-to-be Hurricane Ida, and was staged in an area east of the Mississippi River.

Captain Stellatella and the NJ-TF1 team spent a number of days assisting in rescue and recovery efforts after Ida's landfall in the Gulf. Following an assessment of the recovery efforts by USAR, the on-site FEMA Incident Support Team demobilized Stellatella's team and sent them back to their home area.

As the Captain and his fellow Task Force 1 crew were travelling back to New Jersey, the remnants of Ida were tracking over the Northeast, dumping significant amounts of rain and creating hazardous flooding conditions. Before even making it back to New Brunswick, Stellatella and his team were given a new set of orders; to deploy as a State asset and respond to the hard-hit areas in New Jersey, including Hillsborough, Bound Brook and Manville and conduct additional water rescue evacuations and primary searches.  

Same intense storm, two different geographies. Welcome home, Captain!