Hurricane Maria: Local deputy fire chief leading rescue team in - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hurricane Maria: Local deputy fire chief leading rescue team in Puerto Rico

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(NEWS 8) - Millions of Americans in Puerto Rico are still feeling the severe impact of Hurricane Maria. Power is still out and running water is hard to find for many of the island's residents. 

One local deputy fire chief is currently in Puerto Rico and is doing everything he can to help the victims of Maria. 

His name is Kelly Zombro and he’s the Deputy Chief of the San Diego Fire Department where he works as an Incident Commander of the Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team. Zombro is in Puerto Rico helping the island to slowly recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Zombro says that assistance on the ground is, for the most part, getting through to the people of Puerto Rico, despite conflicting reports.

Zombro's team is working closely with the New York Fire Department, Puerto Rican Firefighters and the Puerto Rican National Guard and the agencies have been tasked with opening roads that have been shut down by the deadly hurricane.

Much of the focus is on the high country, which is mountainous areas of Puerto Rico that are exceedingly hard to access and subject to landslides and mudslides.

Also critical in this recovery process is the determination of the locals.

"They have been opening some of the roads themselves, using chainsaws, machetes, whatever they have access to,” said Zombro. “They are resilient. I am quite impressed.”

One remarkable sign of progress noted by FEMA was the San Juan Airport is open for business and can now handle 250 flights a day.

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