The epic snowstorm that hit the Northeast last week was matched with an epic effort from first responders, including a group of firefighters in Neptune, New Jersey, population about 5,100.
The Hamilton Fire Company crew that worked the night after Christmas were all volunteers, said iReporter Bhak Tanta-Nanta, a firefighter who filmed a 67-hour shift that spanned three days.
That fire crew and other first responders had to deal with abandoned vehicles, waist-deep snow and residents upset that snow on their streets hadn't been plowed fast enough.
Among the difficulties Tanta-Nanta, a five-year volunteer, and his crew mates faced were:
- A house fire that the crew had to trek to from another street. Did firefighters have issues with the waterhose freezing? “We had issues getting to the house,” Tanta-Nanta said.
- Thirty inches of snow in some areas.
- Six hours of sleep over a three-day period.
Neighbors assisted first responders, digging an almost two-block-long trench so they could pull an injured elderly man from his home.
Firefighters had problems getting to the man’s home. “We could not reach the house but neighbors had been walking to the street [to flag down EMS crews], so they had already made a little path,” Tanta-Nanta said.
At one point, neighbors and children helped dig trenches with the firefighters, Tanta-Nanta said.
‘The whole neighborhood came together. It was really cool to see.”
When asked why he volunteers, Tanta-Nanta said, “I don’t know. We give back to the community. That’s what we do.”