Lanesborough Firefighters Take 4 Trailers of Donations to New YorkBy Andy McKeever
09:52AM / Saturday, November 10, 2012
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The small town of Breezy Point, N.Y., bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy last month.
Volunteers have been donating both goods and supplies to help a destroyed town that nearly 'mirrored' their own.
Volunteer fire companies found themselves battling sea water and a whipped-up inferno as the superstorm pummeled the Rockaway Peninsula.
Breezy Point flooded during the storm and a six-alarm fire broke out destroying a large swath of the town. High flood levels trapped the volunteer firefighters and the New York City Fire Department couldn't help.
The blaze destroyed 111 homes and damaged 20 others along with the fire station.
After learning about the devastation in the oceanside town, Lanesborough volunteer firefighter Glen Storie and his wife, Beth, saw similarities between that tight-knit community and their own and immediately wanted to help.
Storie posted to Facebook that he wanted to use his trailer to take supplies down to Breezy Point and his fellow firefighters jumped at the opportunity to help. The word spread throughout the region and every night last week, donations came in from across the Berkshires and from as far as Stephentown, N.Y., and Hamden and Franklin counties.
On Friday night, firefighters were finishing loading four trailers full of supplies — an estimated 12,000 pounds — to be shipped to Breezy Point on Saturday morning. Ten firefighters are escorting the supplies to the Breezy Point Fire Department and will lend their manpower to help clean and repair the fire station, firefighters' homes or anything else Breezy Point fire officials need.
"A lot of people wanted to donate but they didn't know how," Storie said Friday in between loading trailers. "It's expanded five-fold."
According to Fire Chief Charlie Durfee, the supplies range the entire spectrum. Berkshire fire departments from Savoy, Adams, West Stockbridge, Tyringham and Lanesborough all donated used fire equipment to help replace what Breezy Point lost.
"Their fire department got destroyed and this is to help out firefighters and fire departments," Durfee said. "We're just doing our part to help them out."
Durfee added that there are a lot of firefighters and police officers from New York City, both active and retired, who live in Breezy Point.
The largest of four trailers was filled to the brim on Friday.
"This directly affects firemen," Durfee said. "They're down there with only the clothes on their back."
The donations came from residents and from businesses. The trailers are loaded with boxes of batteries, pallets of food, brand-new chainsaws and tools, clothing for all ages, baby supplies, four 55-gallon tanks of gasoline or, as Durfee said, "everything you could imagine."
"We've been here every night. Everybody has been here loading, loading, loading," Durfee said. "It's been overwhelming."
So many items came in that Storie's trailer filled quickly. But a family member of another Lanesborough firefighter loaned another and when that one filled up, DCM Racing Products showed up with a 24-foot trailer. On Friday, the 24-footer was so stuffed that the Fire Department loaded up its own 10-foot trailer for the final items.
Of the 10 volunteers going, four are returning Saturday and the rest are staying all weekend and will return Monday. Another six firefighters have already volunteered to return next weekend.
While the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have their hands full with the rest of New York and New Jersey, one small town and volunteer fire department is helping out where it can.