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. Tony

    I think who had a snow shovel and could dig should have. If the city is overwhelmed then the citizens need to be rugged like our forfathers and quit complaining grab a shovel. Society expects too much.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      NJ gets lots of snow, and should plan, but for a small town it would take regional planning. I grew up in NJ. I now live in a snowier area, but all the adult family members are sick, and I have to hire somebody to plow my driveway. Snow is a lot harder on people than most will admit; what many of us take for granted every year has closed Europe this year. I am grateful for any help, volunteer or hired.

      January 2, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Angie

    I am thankful to read an article about the hard working, kind hearted and eager individuals who are willing to pull together and help one another. I am even more pleased to see the majority of comments (minus the ignorant, pessimistic, narrow minded and unappreciative clowns) from people who are caring souls that acknowledge it takes people like these courageous volunteer firefighters and community members to make our a world a better place! God bless all of you! The bottom line is, our service men and women (firefighters, police, soldiers, community volunteers) are doing a great deed in committing to helping others, regardless of personal risks or gain. Let's be grateful and acknowledge it for the good it serves in making our world a better place. May this new year be filled with more stories about the bold and unrelenting efforts of progression for human kind.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • enuffisenuff


      January 2, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank

    What? Firefighters on a "67" hour blow in Uranus, N.J...Neptune...whatever, where is the Department of Public Works? They don't have one, do they? The city does'nt know how to outsource snow removal, so in turn, the fire fighters time is put at risk with yet another job (snow removal?). They (the city) had how many years of historical, empirical weather data to make appropriate plans for this winter in the event of a serious storm. If I lived there (in a way I'm glad I don't live there), my house would burn down before help was able to arrive. Gees...

    January 2, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Neptune Resident

      Hey Jeff Frank... We are glad you don't live here too.

      January 2, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah

    Lovin how people dun read the actual thing were all discussing! Talking about how fire personell are not hero's because they're! Hello! Read!

    January 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Learn how to spell

      January 2, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lazarus

    The negative comments are really not needed. This was a devastating storm and if you weren't in Central NJ when it happened, you have no idea of how bad it was. Check out if you want to see some pictures (albeit with a humorous slant) of how bad it was. The Jersey Shore is not Alaska, we weren't prepared for this...

    January 2, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
    • stuckup1

      You are so right about not having the snow removal equipment. Neptune is my husband's home town. He came to college years ago in the snow belt with no proper jacket, hat, gloves, etc he really did not understand snow or freezing temperatures. We just returned from the Princeton area, they "only" had 12 inches of snow, and cleared it admirably, faster than my own state would have done, and we're used to heavy snow.

      January 2, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |

    The military doesn't do anything for this country but waste money. Firefighters are the true bad asses.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Disgusted at your ignorance

      I will grant you the fact that firefighters are heroes, because they are. As far as the military doing nothing! are totally ignorant. They sacrifice so much for complete idiots like yourself. There are more people who appreciate what they do, than uneducated trash like yourself.

      January 2, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Your level of stupidity amazes me.

      January 2, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. big AL

    @COL BAT GUANO, your the epitome of a moronic loser. Your liberal views is why this country is such misery. If not for the military, wouldn't enjoy your God given freedoms. Now sit down and shut up little boy!

    January 2, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jack R

    @escort, don't promote your slave trade please.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kellen

    RUFFNUTT, you have one of those too? Seemed like a good idea at the time...

    January 2, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. big AL

    Tell them Jack R! Instead of "promote" I would use "pimp". Promote is a positive type word. I see a lot of people "pimp" their websites, what gives?

    January 2, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. WakkaDoo

    Befuddled at the direction this conversation took. And by the way, did I read "nicapoop"?

    Ignore the pot-stirrers and drama-queens/kings, y'all. They're not worth it.

    Mel: Right On.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jack R

    Ok, Big Al,change promote to pimp. "Slave trade" still stands. (Regardless, get the h*ll out, escort.)

    January 2, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jack R

    Ok everybody, stay on topic. This is very serious here.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. WakkaDoo

    Escort service? Wow we've got issues.

    January 2, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. mike johnson

    "If you think you are humble... then you are not"

    January 2, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
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