Even before Hurricane Sandy ripped through the area, causing flooding, massive power outages and structural damage, area volunteer firefighters were out, helping to evacuate homes and readying gear — many didn't see their families during the entire storm event, which was followed a week later by a nor'easter that prompted additional evacuations.
In Hampton Bays, the alarms nearly never stopped ringing. From Oct. 29 right through the storm, 25 firefighters on standby responded to near 50 calls, including a fully involved shed fire, two water rescues and multiple downed wire calls. The department was also called to a fire on Dune Road, but could not gain access to the roadway as it was washed over.
- Fire Burns on Dune Road Monday Night
- Hampton Bays Fire Department Responds to Shed Fire; Water Rescue
"All my firemen did a superb job, standing by at the firehouse to protect the community. I thank their families and employers for letting them stay and supporting them," said John Tedesco, Hampton Bays Fire Chief.
And even after the storm passed, the Hampton Bays Fire Department stepped up to help those in need. The department held a one-time collection drive, filling three U-Haul trucks and also opened it's doors to out-of-state electrical workers and tree trimmers, who said quarters that were supplied by LIPA were cramped.
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In nearby firefighters ran some 40 alarms during Sandy, bringing their year-to-date alarm total to 492. Among the alarms they responded to three fires; one in East Quogue, one on Dune Road in Hampton Bays and a third in Hampton Bays.
Also during the storm, the department, said Chief Greg Celi Jr., bought a special needs patient to the hospital as well as cleared multiple obstructions from the roadways and secured and mitigated propane gas leaks and floating tanks at about 10 locations.
And like Hampton Bays Fire Department, East Quogue provided food and shelter to out-of-state workers and held a donation drive for the victims of Sandy.
"The members of the East Quogue Fire Department and East Quoguge Ladies Auxiliary were in force to provide emergency response for the community we are charged to serve before, during and after Hurricane Sandy. We are all volunteers who are community members ourselves, we have friends and neighbors we see every day that trust we will be there when they need us. We take our responsibility seriously. I thank our members for setting aside their own needs and living up to the community’s expectations at all times, especially during abnormal weather events," said Celi.
In Westhampton Beach, Chief Chip Bancroft, said his department responded to about 100 calls, including a rescue on Oneck Lane where firefighters had to scale a fence because the street was impassable with a pole down. They were also called to Pond Point on Dune Road where they brought in their high water truck after the first high tide hit, leaving one resident stranded.
The department also responded to a fully involved fire on Shore Road in the aftermath of Sandy.
- No Injuries Reported in Shore Road Blaze
Bancroft could not stress enough how thankful he is to the department's volunteers for all their hard work during and after Superstorm Sandy and after by helping to collect donations at Goldberg's Deli.
- Weekend Food and Clothing Drive Set for Goldberg's Deli
An in Quogue, Chief Tim Shea, said his department logged 1,200 man hours of the course of the storm, responding to about 34 calls.
The calls, he said varied from downed wires and trees to CO2 alarms.
"The guys and girls of the department did a great job. For many it was pretty intense in the amount of time they gave, away from their own families. They really did a wonderful job," said Shea.
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