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. Faberm

    This is what volunteerism and America is all about. Contrast this with the other cities up there that sat waiting like birds in the wilderness to be fed by an expensive unionized belly-aching government.

    January 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. tel

    Thank you to all Americans who daily do their part to keep local and national society going. To the NEWS MEDIA no thanks for constantly focusing on the NEGATIVE aspects of any event. This was a major major storm and to expect all streets and services to function normally is insane mental misunderstanding. Given 4 days to a week to clean up some of this snow is admirable-so be realistic media and complainers.!!

    January 2, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Citizenship

    Wow, fire fighters, ems, police, soldiers, sailors, and law enforcement rock. Paid or unpaid. Thay risk their lives so we can do nearly anything we americans want. Without them many would be jailed for speaking their minds, or dead in their homes, cars, or elsewhere.
    Now those of you who are too lazy to do anything. Be greatfull that you live in a state that plows period. Wyoming for instance does not. I say when you mount your own plow, as I do in N.W. Ohio, or pick up your shovel to help then and only then do you have the experience to whine and complain.

    January 2, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Texan

    Dang...what's all that white stuff??

    January 2, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. pelicansnout

    I want chicken, I want liver, meow mix, meow mix, please deliver....

    January 2, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • FF in NY


      January 13, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kathy

    Wow, after watching this video I expected to get here and see all kinds of positive comments... surprising

    For the folks in this video- thanks for giving us a glimpse into of what this experience was like for you. I love to be reminded that in spite of all our flaws our humanity shines in even the most difficult of situations. I hope that if I were put in a similar situation I would act as generously as all of you did.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joan

    Doesn't make the sacrifice seem as genuine when totaling hours and begging for press. Really not much of a story unless you're searching for a pat on the back and helped out

    January 2, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    Maybe if we could afford better equipment for firefighters and Snow plowers? Or maybe if we could afford to pay them more? These are faced with the same problems our schools are: lack of federal funding. That, and we spend way too much on pharmaceuticals, street drugs, electronic gadgets, rooms full of wal-mart plasti-crap, showy cars, fat food, etc. We trade our security for luxury we can't afford, and then cry about it.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • pelicansnout

      What does personally purchased/acquired "plasti-crap" have to do with a a municipality not having paid firefighters? Are you comparing a resident's expediture with a town's expenditure? Another question, how many times has your name been on the ballot for Mayor? Surely you don't think posting on CNN will aid in your epic battle againt our modern day lifestyle?

      January 2, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. phil

    Simple, we could afford to donate more, spend more time volunteering, etc. if our time were not so consumed by working so hard to pay for excesses we don't really need.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • pelicansnout

      Ok, I see your point. Quite true.

      January 2, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. phil

    Not to mention a town's expenditure IS a resident's expenditure. Where do you think town's get their funds? From their residents, of course. If our nations people just traded the extra money we spend on fat-food that makes US obese(epidemic) for chrome, our snow plows and fire engines could all be chrome-plated! Now I'm not lierally suggesting we do so, just illustrating that our lifesyle choices come with consequences.

    January 2, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. phil

    @Pelicansnout...and you(not you personally, but you citizens) really don't want a man like me for mayor, or you would have had one long ago. You want a leader that will tell you what you want to hear, the very same reason you want a preacher. That, and a man like me would be assassinated before long. "They will kill him, for he has spoken the truth and when shall a man be permitted to live when he speaks the truth?"–Scaevola (discussing the legal case of a man who exposed some corrupt politicians in ancient Rome)

    January 2, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. abc

    Sure you're telling the truth all the time, phil, except when you're posting under different user names! Just the kind of politician Neptune reaaaaaaally needs!

    January 2, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. phil

    @abc...I have indeed posted under different s/n's, most notably Ahkmed the terror guy. This is not to fool anyone, just to illustrate my point(s) You may recall that I did publicly apologize, not for what Ahkmed said, but for my posing. And I promised never to do it again. And as if abc is really you. Why attack me personally? Attack what I post, if you can.

    January 2, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      You fooled me...but everyone knows your jolly are spiking the local waterworks!

      January 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy

    Hi, phil! In fighting mode, I see! Happy New year, go-to-guy! 🙂

    January 2, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil

    Hey there banasy! Fighting mode? he he...just trying to dodge sniper fire from an charachter assasin. I think he's only upset because he's a poor shot. he he How's Chicago trating you? (and i noticed your post on the earthquake board, but thought I should give Mike time to reply before I butted in with my 2 cents worth)

    January 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
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