Los Angeles County Firefighter Specialist Anthony Ramirez — better known by his middle name, Pete — returned to work Saturday at Fire Station 82 in La Cañada Flintridge after taking part last week in search-and-rescue missions along the tsunami-devastated coastline of Japan.
Ramirez is a member of the elite California Task Force 2, one of only two wholly self-sufficient international disaster response teams in the country. The 74-member team of firefighters, doctors, paramedics, engineers, logisticians, hazmat technicians and other specialists carries tens of thousands of pounds of rescue and survival gear.
Ramirez, 42, and other team members spent six frigid days digging through rubble in Ofunato and Kamaishi City areas of Japan, an area about 300 miles north of Tokyo that was one of the hardest hit by the deadly tsunami along the island nation’s Eastern seaboard.
Like many of those only seeing pictures of Japan’s devastation from halfway around the world,