Point Breeze Fire Department Receives Outpour Of Support After Heroic Rescue During Sandy
The Point Breeze Fire Department was recognized Thursday for it's heroic efforts during Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers braved the elements and battled a massive fire where several dozen people were pulled to safety. NY1's Jon Weinstein has the story.
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The Point Breeze Volunteer Fire House is a hub of relief activity as the community tries to recover after Hurricane Sandy.
During the storm, flood waters swallowed streets and fires engulfed homes across Breezy Point.
The Point Breeze Volunteers rescued more than 40 people even after the flood waters overran their firehouse and equipment.
"The trucks that we have, they shouldn't start," Point Breeze Fire Department Captain Sebastian Denese said. "There's water in the engines, there's no way. But we had a miracle and both trucks started. And so we were able to quickly evacuate the 41 people and get them down the road to St. Thomas More."
"Honestly I think it's a miracle that nobody died here," Kevin O'Brien from the Point Breeze Fire Department said.
Since then, the outpouring of support for the department has been overwhelming.
"We are very very grateful for all the output of humanity, love and support," said Chief Marty Ingram.
This group of mainly New Orleans police officers called, "NOLA Til Ya Die," is paying forward the help they got after Hurricane Katrina. They're helping gut homes while serving cajun food.
"A fair number of us were first responders during Katrina," said NOLA Til Ya Die member Kathleen McCall. "Everybody from New York came down to help us, so we're coming up here to help the people in New York.
The upstate Downsville Fire Department showed up Thursday to donate an ambulance.
"It's brothers helping brothers," said Brian Murphy from the Downsville Fire Department. "Volunteers helping volunteers."
Artist William West was so inspired by the story of the rescue that he created two paintings of the firefighters and their trucks that ferried the people to safety.
He was moved when the firefighters told him they prayed while evacuating people.
"These guys said they don't typically pray," West said. "But this was a time when they said 'you know what, we're gonna do this thing.'"
While the firehouse was damaged in the storm, the volunteers say they're needed now more than ever and they plan to rebuild and help the community rebuild for the future.