Local firefighters assist efforts in tornado-ravaged Midwest | News, Sports, Jobs

DAVE KENNEDY / FOR THE EXPRESS One of the fire trucks in Mayfield, Ky. Sits in a rubble heap days after a devastating tornado on December 19 at what was once Mayfield-Graves Fire Rescue Station 1 .

MUNCY – When Mat Post wondered, “What can we do as a community to help the victims of the tornado? “ his fellow volunteer firefighters answered the call with enough donations of protective gear, hoses and fire equipment to fill three trailers.

In addition to the device, the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company decided to donate an entire fire engine, the 12 engine.

Days after announcing the donations, which came from area fire companies, a team of volunteers was ready to travel to Mayfield, Ky. To present the Mayfield-Graves County Fire and Rescue with nearly 2 millions of dollars. gear.

The Kentucky Fire Company lost everything, including its post, in the recent tornadoes.

Post, who volunteers at Stations 39 and 12, was amazed at the generosity of the community.

DAVE KENNEDY / FOR THE EXPRESS Clinton Twp. Firefighter Mat Post helps unload donated supplies at a barn near Mayfield, Ky. On Saturday, December 18.

“Thank you,” he told the crowd of over 100 people who came to see them at Station 12 in Clinton Township on Friday night.

“We have a whole community; it’s going to be an adventure for all of us, it’s going to be heartbreaking, there are going to be tears and a lot of hugs going on ”, Post said shortly before the group left for the 800 mile trip.

The convoy of four pickup trucks, three towing trailers and a semi-trailer carrying a lowboy, courtesy of Ground Shaker carrying the 12 engine, was escorted by state police to Interstate 80 and was dispatched by other firefighters lining Highway 15 in South Williamsport to wish them luck.

The team of volunteers drove through the night, stopping only three times to refuel their trucks and communicating via hand-held radios.

Conversations on the radios ranged from light jokes about favorite energy drinks, which were enough for the 12 hour hike, to jokes about them bringing the keys to the 12 engine. Along the way, l The team reflected on the magnitude of what this delivery would mean for their Kentucky brethren.

DAVE KENNEDY / FOR THE EXPRESS Engine 12, formerly of Clinton Township, sits in a barn near Mayfield, Ky. Saturday, December 18th. The engine was donated to Mayfield, Ky. Fire and Rescue Department after that department’s engine was destroyed by a recent tornado.

“Guys, this is maybe the most important thing I have done in my life” Post said, echoed by the rest of the team.

The group arrived at the Mayfield-Graves Temporary Fire and Rescue Station, housed in a farmer’s barns just outside town, around 9 a.m. on Saturday, and began the unloading process engine 12 in his new home. The three fire-fighting equipment trailers were unloaded at three different barns.

Todd Winder, the head of the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, moved, backed up the lowboy’s truck.

“He’s my baby; I can’t believe he’s leaving us”, He shared.

“It was a good truck; it will be a good truck for you guys, trust me, “ Reel added.

Even after driving all night, the crew spent all day getting the engine ready for service in their new home. Hoses were laid in the back of the truck and the hose connections were changed.

Chief Winder spent hours explaining the truck’s long list of operations and features to all of the firefighters who would now be its new owners.

Captain Jason Buckman of Mayfield-Graves Fire and Rescue was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Lycoming County crew.

“Words can’t describe the help we received – we don’t even know how to thank everyone. To have this today is a blessing that I cannot even describe ”, said a moved Buckman.

Mayfield-Graves County firefighters were on appeal when they lost their post, not even knowing for the first 3-4 hours that their post was completely gone.

“Someone came by and said to the chief: ‘your post is gone'” Buckman said.

The tornado was so powerful that a 10-by-20-foot piece of the station’s concrete floor, with all their gear, completely vanished.

“It gives you an idea of ​​what the tornado looked like over there at the station”, Buckman said.

The Lycoming County group returned home on Saturday after more handshakes, hugs and thanks from Mayfield-Grave firefighters

“I’m glad we were able to help. Post started this thing, and we were overwhelmed ”, Winder said.

Some fire departments have made three trips to bring in supplies to donate, he noted.

“We are happy to help and we don’t want anything for it. We just hope that if, God forbid, something like this happens to us, someone will reach out to us ”, Winder said before the group left.

Engine 12 wasted no time in starting their new business in Kentucky, responding to a house fire Saturday night with the Mayfield-Graves Fire and Rescue and a vehicle crash soon after.

Captain Buckman is adamant Engine 12 will serve the residents and volunteers of the community of Mayfield-Graves for a long time, just as it has faithfully served Lycoming County.

“Our department has been blessed – this engine will serve us for many years”, Buckman said.

“We are helping our dead” Post explained to Lycoming County Commissioners at their Tuesday meeting what prompted the local fire company to help their “brothers and sisters” after the devastation of the tornado.

“It changed my life, it changed my life” he added.

Post and Winder, along with Larry Stout, public information manager for the fire company, were in attendance at the meeting to share their experiences with collecting supplies and spending time in Kentucky.

Winder described the site that had once been the Mayfield-Graves fire station. He recounted how the chief told him that they usually tell people to look for the water tower in town and that the fire station is right below.

“Well, there’s basically a torn building and a shattered water tower next to it. “ Winder said.

“It reminds you of… war-torn Europe, Germany where it’s all bricks and blocks and old buildings. The destruction is incredible ”, he added.

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