Updated 10/30/2012 10:36 PM
Local Crews Respond to Call for Help Downstate
Western New York is recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but the damage from the storm is nothing compared to what those downstate are dealing with. That's why crews from Monroe County are stepping in.
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"This is the third deployment that I've been on,” said Mark Cholach, West Webster Fire Department. "This is the worst time they could possibly be in and every time you need something, the firemen are who you call."
Western New York slipped through Sandy's grip with some widespread power outages from downed trees and power lines. But those in the NYC metropolitan area were not so lucky.
The same first responders who went door-to-door evacuating shoreline residents in Monroe County are heading south. Forty-four firefighters from more than ten departments packed up their trucks and headed toward Nassau and Suffolk counties, where they'll be assisting in cleanup and recovery efforts for the next 72 hours.
"I've got a very good friend who is a NYC firefighter who lost all his possessions. He lives in Queens and his apartment flooded,” Cholach said. “It's very satisfying going down there and being able to help those people out.”
Family and friends gathered at the Public Safety Training Facility on Tuesday to give the firefighters a proper send off.
“He was like at 4 o'clock today, I'm going to NYC. It's like well, okay then," said Talia Cholach, Mark’s daughter.
"It's such a proud moment to see him go out to help people he doesn't know and he doesn't do it for any pay, he's a volunteer... I'm very proud," said Meghan, his wife.
After 25 years, those at home have embraced the unpredictable life of a first responder.
"It's a part of our life and we accept it,” said Meghan.
"If you look around the state people are suffering and people are struggling, and so that's when we are at our best, when we go and serve our friends and neighbors who need our help," said Maggie Brooks, (R), Monroe County Executive.
Sandy has ravaged the NYC area, killing ten people. Area firefighters will be assisting in areas like Long Island where President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration, after thousands remain displaced and almost a million without power or drinking water.
“It's very surreal for someone who hasn't seen something like this before. We all wear different coat colors, different hat colors, but we are all there for the same reason, to help another human being,” Mark said.
For the next three days, firefighters from Monroe County will help get the state's biggest city back on its feet.