BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Local firefighters have watched along with us as Hurricane Irene swept through the east coast and headed toward New York City.
When the call came Sunday morning to head downstate, many of the firefighters already had their bags packed and were ready to go.
Commissioner Greg Skibitisky of Erie County Emergency Services said, "We were asked to contact fire companies throughout Erie County to see about their availability to go down and help in the New York City area and some of the counties surrounding New York City."
Close to 100 firefighters and first responders took that call and were ready to be sent out to do whatever was needed to help out.
"The firefighters that are going down are trained, they're experienced. They're going down with portable pumps, chainsaws, portable generators. Again, to help as many people as we can during this time of disaster," added Skibitisky.
Michael Tuberdyke of Buffalo Fire said, "Once we get there we'll get an operational order and assist any companies that are there, doing whatever needs to be done."
This is the first time since 9-11 that Erie County will be sending firefighters downstate. But they've been here for us in the past and the Commissioner says it's time to return the favor.
Skibitisky said, "The October storm of 2006 we had a need here and we had fire service from across New York State to come help us. Now it's our turn to help our neighbors and our fellow firefighters."
The group is made up out of mainly volunteer companies from across the county and firefighters from Buffalo. While they sat and waited for their orders Sunday morning, you could feel all the emotions going through them before deploying for 5 to 7 days.
Tuberdyke said, "Everybody's nervous, everybody's excited, everybody want to help. Our main goal is just to be there so we can lend our assistance to whoever needs it."
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