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Hurricane Sandy – One Volunteer Fireman’s Story

Kill the power on the tracks. We cannot have water
on a live track condition. I’d never wildly even dreamt of getting
involved with the voluntary fire department. And I fell in love.
I really fell in love with it. On the day of the storm, when Sandy
hit New York, on October 29th, it was a question of figuring out how bad the different areas
were going to be affected, both in the office
as well as back on Long Island. I’ve been in Manhattan my entire career,
26, 27 odd years. I have never seen Manhattan as quiet,
eerily quiet, as it was. It was downright spooky. Do you want to put your siren on,
Matty? Thank you. Back in the firehouse, I am the first
deputy chief of the fire department. So I’m the second most senior person. When the storm itself hit, the calls were, quite frankly,
absolutely overwhelming. We probably had about 49 calls
in the span of 33 minutes. The issue at that point in time
was literally flooding, trees being taken down
and falling on top of electrical wires, electrical wires falling
on top of houses, and then fires starting. What none of us understood
when we all woke up on the 29th, was the succession, and how fast all
these events were going to take place. Let’s do it. We have about 100 members overall. And, in terms of the 13 years
of camaraderie, team spirit, volunteerism, it’s an amazing situation for me. It’s probably the best thing
I’ve ever done. I needed something in my life
at that point in time. It was more than writing a cheque,
in terms of volunteerism. It was a nice way of doing that.
I also met unbelievable guys and girls. Whenever people say
they’re too busy to do something – you can always find time
to do something.

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