Local firefighters return after helping Sandy victims

Posted at: 11/04/2012 10:45 PM
Updated at: 11/04/2012 11:28 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

They are just a handful of the many people from our area who have gone down to lend a hand. Six firefighters from Henrietta spent the last five days in Long Island, one of the areas that was devastated by superstorm Sandy, and now they are back in the Rochester area. The firefighters witnessed first hand some of the damage caused by Sandy. Long Island was directly in the path of the big storm and the area felt some of the worst of Sandy's wrath.

"Being able to help is what I like to do," says firefighter Justin Tam "So when they did put out the call that they needed people to go down, I volunteered."

Justin Tam has seen it all throughout his ten years as a firefighter, but the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy is something, he says, he will never forget.

"There's a lot of areas devastated down there," says Tam. "Between the flood waters, the wind damage, it's going to be a long time before people get everything back. There's a lot of people that lost everything they had."

Long Island was directly in the storm's path and was one of the hardest hit areas. Tam says fire officials even had to deal with an extreme amount of damage to their own station. He and five other firefighters left to Long Island on Tuesday to assist in the recovery. They joined several other firefighters from across the state.

Tam says, "I left really good going down there and letting the guys that live there go home and assess their own problems and be with their families."

Some are still picking up the pieces and others will have to start from scratch. Tam says the recovery effort will take a lot of time but he's glad they were able to help. He says this superstorm is something we can all learn from.

"Some of the things that happened were unavoidable," says Tam. "But there are things you can do to be more prepared."

The Henrietta firefighters aren't the only ones trying to help out the area. Four fire officials from Monroe County have also made their way down to Long Island. Officials say they will help assess up to 6,000 buildings damaged by superstorm Sandy.