Louisiana helping Puerto Rico with earthquake recovery

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — More than 20 Louisiana state fire marshal employees are heading to Puerto Rico on Thursday to help with earthquake recovery efforts.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the plans Wednesday after signing off on the deployment request from Puerto Rico's governor.

“We have our fair share of natural disasters in Louisiana, and because of our experience with destruction and devastation, our first responders are second to none,” Edwards said in a statement.

The Democratic governor's office said Louisiana is sending 23 people from the fire marshal's office, including deputies, building inspectors, plan reviewers and specialists in urban search and rescue. The group will help assess the thousands of damaged buildings for safety issues and is expected to be in Puerto Rico for 16 days.

Puerto Rico has been shaken by continuing earthquakes for more than a month.

Louisiana's assistance will be reimbursed through a coordinated emergency assistance compact among U.S. states and territories.