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Local fire departments helping out with Sandy recovery efforts

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Albany/HV: Local fire departments helping out with Sandy recovery efforts
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Some local firefighters are returning from Nassau County, where they were helping for the last few days with the storm recovery. Our Innae Park has more on the efforts of the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire Department.

SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Lt. Michael Hutchens of the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire Department said, “I've never seen anything like that.”

After a full 72 hours, ten Halfmoon-Waterford firefighters say they'll never forget these images: The destruction of Sandy.

“Boats higher than homes, boats in garbage cans, raw sewage rampant on the streets,” said Chief Jeremy Connors.

“There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of houses just in the area that we were that were devastated and we were just in one town,” Hutchens said.

For three days, the crew assisted the Vigilant Fire Hose Company No. 2 in Freeport on Long Island. The calls ranged from fires to accidents to helping an elderly man rebuild his home. In those moments, the departments became one.

Halfmoon-Waterford Fire Dept Former Chief Sean Dickinson said, “We came right in. It was an instant family.”

Connors said, “We all removed our helmet shields and gave them to the captain of Freeport Vigilant Hose Company No. 2.”

The Halfmoon-Waterford fire state now has a helmet from Freeport, too.

Halfmoon-Waterford is no stranger to natural disaster aid. Last year, they were deployed to Schoharie County for Irene relief. Four years ago, they became the ones in need during the ice storm of '08.

“You're burned out and the calls keep coming in and you don't have it in you to go. And you see fresh guys show up, willing to help you, from all over. It's an amazing feeling,” Dickinson said.

And knowing that others are still in such a situation, they're already planning to offer their services again.

Connors said, “We're willing, ready and able. They put wheels on these trucks for a reason and we're ready to turn them.”

The department plans to settle in and ensure everything is squared away and then the chief plans to offer their services again.

There were also eight firefighters from the Clinton Heights Fire department who went down to Freeport, as well.

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