By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Several local fire departments have sent crews to Hawaii on Sunday night for the countdown to Hurricane Douglas making landfall there.

The firefighters have been called on to help with search and rescue efforts if needed. The hurricane is the first to approach so close to Hawaii in a decade.

Sacramento Fire Department Battalion Chief Patrick Costamagna showed us the scene, including high rise hotels, from his quarters in downtown Honolulu.

The Sacramento Fire Department was one of 8 local fire departments – including others like Woodland, Cosumnes, Folsom and Roseville – sent to provide mutual aid for the Hawaii Office of Emergency Services.

As Hurricane Douglas approached land on the islands, strong winds were creating massive waves in the pacific.

“My concern right now is always the storm surge that gets pushed in front of [the winds] and being on the beach town,” Costamagna said. “You only have three or four feet of variance.”

Oahu set up a Red Cross evacuating center at the Honolulu convention center.

People were stocking up on supplies ahead of anticipated landfall. The state is asking people to have enough medical essentials to last for 14 days as the hurricane is threatening Hawaii during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of Sacramento’s search and rescue teams were also warned they may need to isolate if they become ill.

“This is my first time being deployed during a pandemic. During this interview is probably the first time I’ve had my mask off since we’ve been in Hawaii,” Costamagna said.

It’s Costamagna’s first mission since the pandemic hit.

“Granted, this may have been downgraded to a category one storm, however, with the rainfall and still the high winds, we’re in high alert,” Costamagna said.


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