Firefighters Save Lives in Sandy Recovery

Volunteers each other out amid massive power outages and devastating property damage.

What was supposed to be a rescue of a family trapped in rising water, turned into Yorktown Swift Water Rescue team members assisting Continental Village Fire Deptartment and helping several other people on the way. 

Assistant Fire Chief Jason Swart, also a Yorktown police officer, said team members deployed from Annsville Circle, heading North on Route 9 to assist in bringing a family trapped by the water back to Annsville Circle. 

On their way to rescue them, the team, which traveled by boat, received another call about a man in diabetic shock on Sprout Brook Road. They were redirected to that a call when they spotted a male atop a vehicle at a gas station and transported him to an ambulance. The man was placed into the boat and the team continued up Sprout Brook Road.

"At the ball field on Sprout Brook Road the water finally met pavement," Swart said. "It was at this location we picked up the diabetic male who was in care of a state trooper. We placed the diabetic in the boat with a lifevest on and made our way back to Highland [Avenue] where there was an ambulance and paramedic awaiting our arrival."

During their trip by boat to the ambulance, volunteers provided warmth and monitored basic vital signs, Swart said.

The water rescue team member were also dispatched to the Mobile Gas Station in Annsville Circle to rescue employees trapped in the building.

"Again, completely by boat we made our way back to Annsville Circle," Swart said. "At the gas station we secured five employees, suited them all up in lifevests and transported them by boat to the opposite side of the circle."

The five employees were assisted by state police who helped them get to a shelter.

That's just one example of fire departments and community members helping each other out amid massive power outages and devastating property damage after Sandy hit the area.

The vast majority of the calls Yorktown firefighters received were wires and trees down, as well as carbon monoxide alarms. They answered a call for a problem with a gas stove and a couple for leaking propane tanks, Yorktown Fire Chief Chet Swirski said. 

"Despite the extremely dangerous conditions during the peak of the storm, the fire department answered every call where there was a potential for a life- threatening situation," Swirski said. "The members of the department should be commended for their bravery and professionalism that was displayed while they were serving our community."

Jody Leverich, second assistant chief for the Somers Volunteer Fire Department, said firefighters have responded to at least 110 alarms and counting since Monday – there were 50 calls on Monday alone.

The fire department was called to a structure fire in the Shenorock area of town and there have been numerous wires down, EMS, carbon monoxide, and fire alarm calls. In addition, firefighters were called to assist neighboring towns several times over the last couple of days. They helped transport residents to the emergency shelter in town.

"It's been busy and the men and women of the [Somers Volunteer Fire Department] have done an excellent job and I am very proud of them," Leverich said. 

Have you been helped by neighbors with chainsaws or generators? Give a shout-out to them here!

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Debi Brunner November 04, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Much thanks to Charlie Restivo, Matt Restivo and MIke Pereira of Lawrence Road, Mohegan Lake for their chainsaw help in cutting through a tree blocking our road!


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