Fire department replaces others' engine lost during Superstorm Sandy
Superstorm Sandy ravaged West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department in Queens, N.Y., flooding the fire station with 5 feet of water and ruining all of its rescue equipment.
A fire engine donated Wednesday by North Huntingdon's Larimer Volunteer Fire Department will help to replenish the New York department's fleet.
“We lost all the equipment in the firehouse,” said Mitch Udowitch, treasurer of West Hamilton Beach department. “It's amazing how people throughout the community came to help — and the country.”
Donations of equipment have poured in from fire stations across the nation, including Hooversville and Berlin in Somerset County, Udowitch said. Fire departments in Mississippi and Georgia donated equipment.
The fierce storm battered the eastern seaboard on Oct. 29, trashing three fire engines, a brush truck and two ambulances at the Queens department.
During the storm, the West Hamilton Beach crew rescued two women trapped in a house, Udowitch said.
“Hamilton Beach is approximately 20 to 40 feet below sea level to begin with. ... The hurricane hit land at a full moon and high tide,” he said. “It just kept coming.”
The brick-and-cinder block fire station in Queens survived the storm but needed a new roof and some interior work. The storm left the department without electricity for six weeks.
Bill Hardy, chief of the Larimer fire department, saw photographs online of inundated New York fire departments and offered to help the West Hamilton Beach company.
“We'll do whatever we can to help them out,” Hardy said.
Larimer got a new fire engine in August, which replaced the donated truck.
Udowitch and John Abouricheh, another firefighter from the Queens department, picked up the 1986 engine in North Huntingdon Wednesday and planned to drive it back to New York. Udowitch said the department plans to use Larimer's donated truck to respond primarily to brush fires.
The Queens department operates solely with donations — without tax revenue, he said.
“Between these guys and Somerset County, I can't say enough,” Udowitch said. “(With their donation), these guys complete what we needed.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Huntingdon man accused of road rage altercation in Westmoreland
- Event gets new formal name: Shop ’n Save Westmoreland County Airshow, presented by Xcoal Energy & Resources in Latrobe
- Reputed major heroin trafficker in Westmoreland County pleads guilty, gets prison sentence
- Zoning update raises fears in Ligonier Township
- Auction nets $20,000 from ill-gotten gain in slaying, theft from Washington County woman
- Court in the Classroom program provides insight for Norwin High School students
- Fast-growing Americans for Prosperity opens location in Greensburg
- Officials plan software upgrade to Westmoreland County emergency dispatching system
- $7.6M buyout at Hempfield prison site clouds sale
- Latrobe police to form DUI task force
- Excela center proposal worries residents of Hempfield neighborhood