CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Matt Greco and Tom Stanton of the Long Creek Fire Department and Chris McCord of the Charlotte Fire Department are back after spending several days working with victims of super storm Sandy.
The men were part of a group of 11 firefighters who volunteered their time to head to the New York city area to help the members of fire station 217. They worked in areas like the Rockaways and Breezy Point where television news cameras and cell phone video captured some of the devastation of buildings burning and streets flooded after Sandy struck.
Pictures and video could not fully explain what the group saw on a daily basis, the men said.
“You drive down a street and there (are) 12 houses burned out and mounds of sand and cars that were from the other side of the island that are put there that are demolished,” said Greco. “It's really hard to explain. It looks like a war zone or a video.”
The Steven Coakley foundation helped to gather supplies for the men to take with them. Because of the outpouring of support from the Charlotte region, two other flatbeds were shipped up to the crew who
drove their own cars and paid for their own gas.
The group went to assist Fire Department 217 where several men also lost their houses in the storm. The men said that while they witnessed a lot of pain and sadness, they were also encouraged by the incredible will of the people in the area.
“It's truly neighbors helping neighbors. One person on the street has a generator and there are cords running off it in every direction,” said Stanton. “He’s powering at least part of those houses, just with his one generator.”
Station 217 was the station of firefighter Steven Coakley who died helping people during 911.