An American delegation of 13 senior firefighters and officers are in Israel as part of the Emergency Volunteer Project assisting their Israeli counterparts in extinguishing fires caused by Hamas rocket explosions.

The firefighters from Los Angeles, Texas and Washington DC, have been working around the clock in Israel’s south in extinguishing blazes and helping to find the rockets that land in open areas.

“We were all part of the massive tragedy that was 9/11. There we undertook search and rescue missions. When we heard that hundreds of rockets are falling on Israel, we decided to join forces and come and help,” firefighter 51-year-old Billy Hearst of Texas was quoted as saying in Yediot Ahronoth. “We cannot ignore this reality, when Israeli firefighters work hour after hour to save human life.”

“The rocket fired by Hamas hit homes in Ashkelon, Sderot and other communities. We have already been at scenes in a number of such communities, our mission is not simple, hard and exhausting, but we must help, the situation here is insufferable,” Hearst said.

An Emergency Volunteer Project official said there are 30 other American firefighters waiting to come to Israel to volunteer.