In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, local firefighters uprooted from their homes have continued to serve their community.
The Seaford Harbor area was especially hard hit by the Oct. 29 storm with the recently renovated Wantagh Fire Department Station No. 3 on 2529 Neptune Ave. incurring four feet of water inside. Harry Loud, the Wantagh Fire Department’s public information officer, said of 30 firefighters assisting at Station No. 3, nearly half had to evacuate with their homes “wiped out.” Loud said that eight volunteers at the Wantagh Fire Department’s Station #5 on 2985 Merrick Road were also uprooted from their homes by the storm but have also continued aiding their neighbors.
“It is unfortunate that many of our members were displaced although they continued to respond,” Loud said. “Our hearts go out not only to our members but the entire communities of Seaford Harbor and South Wantagh, which took the brunt of the storm.”
Loud said the fire department received 200 calls from Oct. 29-31 and an additional 127 from Nov. 1-5. During height of the storm, Wantagh firefighters also responded to a request from the Massapequa Fire Department to assist volunteers trapped responding to a call.
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Since the storm ended, Wantagh firefighters in the Seaford Harbor area have been hard at work helping with relief efforts including collecting supplies for needy families in front of Station No. 3. Wantagh Fire Department members were also on hand at Station No. 3 to assist a Dec. 2 relief event held as part of an AOL / Patch outreach effort in concert with the American Red Cross and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management that was attended by supermodel Heidi Klum.
“The men and women who live in [the Seaford Harbor] area are still responding to alarms even as they are having problems with their homes,” Loud said. “It’s a dedication that they have.”
Loud said repairs to Station No. 3 underway and he hopes facility can be reopened by the spring.
Loud also credits the Wantagh Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary with how they have stepped up since Sandy by holding meals for firefighters without homes and collecting clothes at headquarters on Park Avenue in Wantagh. A Thanksgiving meal was also served at Station No. 2 in Levittown.
“The magnitude of this storm, its effects and its after-effects will be felt for years to come and hopefully all can rebuild and rebound back,” Loud said.