Man chronicles firefighters' 67-hour shift digging out N.J. township
January 1st, 2011
08:37 PM ET

Man chronicles firefighters' 67-hour shift digging out N.J. township

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.”

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. Ernie

    It is heart warming to see stories where the citizens "get it done". There are millions of these fireman, first responders, off duty police & common people who step up to the plate daily in some crisis. That a few get CNN coverage is great! God Bless America!

    January 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. greed is good

    Cindy try to keep up, I was referring to those that are paid... The conversation evolved dear. Did your head get stuck to the Maple syrup tree up there in VT?

    January 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. greed is good

    Hi Kathi G. I've seen a few of these firfighters and a lot of them can afford to miss a meal or two. 🙂

    January 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • A J

      Greed is good ... What is a "firfighter"? I'm glad to have people
      like you who are totally clueless as to what sacrifice and courage are to trash talk those of us who actually contribute to society. Your inept commentary is most likely reflected in your actions which, in turn, keep me employed. See you on the street corner keeping it real, big guy!

      January 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RUFFNUTT

    everyone cries that firefighters and police make to much... till they need one. then they cry why dont we have more firefighters and police.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jan

    For "me" and "greed is good": apparently you both are ignorant and are talking about something you know absolutely nothing about. You don't know these individuals, I do. They, and all HEROS, are extraordinary people. They volunteer not because they have to but because they want to be there for those who need them to save their lives or their livelihood and risk putting their own lives on the line. I am not going to assume what type of people you are as you have unjustly done. I do have one word for the both of you, though. BOZO.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. greed is good

    I have a MBA from Harvard and btw did 3 tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Nowadays I just deal with nicampoops like yourself who think they have it all figured out. City Unions have wreaked havoc on towns and cities across america. I love our volunteers, but if you volunteer don't put your hand out for crying out loud. Be careful who you accuse of not being educated not everyone in this room I slouching like yourself tenderfoot

    January 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      An MBA that can't spell out words and uses text-speak? Hmmm ... go figure (rolls eyes).

      January 2, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. greed is good

    I have a MBA from Harvard and btw did 3 tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Nowadays I just deal with nicampoops like yourself who think they have it all figured out. City Unions have wreaked havoc on towns and cities across america. I love our volunteers, but if you volunteer don't put your hand out for crying out loud. Be careful who you accuse of not being educated not everyone in this room Is slouching like yourself tenderfoot

    January 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • A J

      So, spelling doesn't count at Harvard? As for the monkey comment, I didn't realize Harvard offered a degree in animal training. And I seriously doubt your claim of serving multiple tours of duty. A "educated" individual with military experience wouldn't make such ignorant claims. How about a little challenge? I'll bet I could do your job better than you could do mine. How tough can it be to strap on a tie, sit behind a desk and be smug?

      January 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. greed is good

    Nate I believe its spelled You're and not your. Who's the one lacking in education?

    January 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. greed is good

    I could train a monkey to put out a fire! You give yourselves too much credit. Its not science. After all people have been fighting fires since fire first existed, how long ago was that? 10'000 years ago? At least. Save it!

    January 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • nate

      Greed is good I apologize about the misspelled word and to save myself a lot of time and wasted energy all I can say to you is Thank you for your service to this country. When and where your beliefs became so obscured I will never know but your service is appreciated by my family and i

      January 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Yes, because the tools and technology used to fight fires hasn't advanced since the first person tossed water or sand on a fire.

      January 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      I'm betting you would put out a grease fire with water, eh Greed?

      January 2, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. sunnybrook

    And that is why New Jersey is a great state. We help each other, we care about each other. Good for the Neptune Fire Volunteers.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kuuipo

    Yeah! what she/he said! all volunteers are MY heros & when it comes to police officers, fire fighters & the military fighting to SAVE our lives, that makes them a hero in my book regardless if they get compensated for it or not because these heros die all the time in the line of duty thatthey get paid for! there is not enough money in the world to trade for my life but still they do it! HERO'S God bless them!

    January 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RUFFNUTT

    all-tho fire-fighting tech has improved since then..

    January 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. greed is good

    It has indeed making it all the more mindless.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Linda, Neptune Native

    I grew up in Neptune, NJ and am now a resident of Lansing, MI. We see our share of snowfall here but I found my family and friends back home struggling for the past week. For once during this "me" first generation you found neighbors helping neighbors, first responders doing what God has asked us to do – LOVE AND HELP ONE ANOTHER! It is hard to fight Mother Nature, but humanity showed its true colors – I guess "me" wants to talk about the neighbors and children who made paths for the injured elderly man and think they're compensated and overrated too. I am proud to see my hometown on CNN and proud to call them hometown heroes!

    January 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RUFFNUTT

    give me some meth and i could shovel snow for 72 hours or more.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
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