Charlotte firefighters return from Sandy recovery - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte firefighters return from Sandy recovery

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Several firefighters from the Charlotte have returned from hurricane-ravaged areas of New York . They volunteered with the Firefighter Steven Coakley Foundation, which arranged the trip.

WBTV talked to one of the volunteering firefighters about the trip to New York. "It gives me goose bumps to talk about it," said Chris McCord. "They still need a lot of help."

McCord works for the Charlotte Fire Department at Station 8. When he learned of the trip to New York to help people hurricane victims rebuild, his fire station allowed him to take time off. He traveled to New York last Thursday, along with an 18-wheeler full of supplies. They purchased items such as tools, buckets, and toilet paper to help victims and aid in the rebuilding process.

"We were in there, basically doing salvage and overhaul," said McCord. "Tearing out walls, tearing out insulation, ripping up floors."

The volunteers worked in areas of Long Island the Rockaway Peninsula, which were damaged by floods from Hurricane Sandy as well as a fire. 

"In Breezy Point, there was a location that looked like a bomb had been dropped in the middle of all these homes and it burnt like a 100 homes," he said. "Being in the fire service, we see a lot of stuff as you can imagine. I wasn't prepared for this."

McCord and his team were in New York just over two days, barely enough time to make a dent in the cleanup that needs to be done in the area. Still, the recipients of their hard work were incredibly grateful.

"Tears, crying, sobbing," said McCord as he described their reaction. "Just to have someone come from afar to help them."

Tom Stanton, a volunteer firefighter with the Long Creek Fire Department, said the trip has given him a new perspective. 

"It restores your faith in humanity, it really does," he said. "If there was ever an issue that right there is a perfect example of neighbor helping neighbor brother helping brother."

Matt Greco, another volunteer firefighter with Long Creek, also said it was amazing to see people stay positive in the face of such devastation.

"The positive outlook on something that is completely life changing makes you really realize, I don't have it that bad," he said.

The Firefighter Steven Coakley Foundation, based in Charlotte, is planning another trip with volunteers to help out more in the next couple weeks.

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