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Local emergency workers head to Sandy-battered  New York

Team will set up, operate fuel station

New York City may still be short of gasoline after Super Storm Sandy, but a group of Franklin County emergency workers are in the Bronx doing their part to keep fuel flowing.

Thursday evening retired Shelburne Fire Chief Angus “Terry” Dunn was sitting down to dinner in a vast parking lot near the beach with Orange Fire Chief Dennis Annear and the other members of the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team, volunteers who have been mobilized to help with the aftermath of Sandy’s destruction in the New York metropolitan area.

“Right now we just got things set up, we’ve been briefed by the New York City representative,” Dunn said. “We’re rocking and rolling tomorrow morning.”

Initially dispatched to join the Staten Island Command Center, the team of six were redirected to the Bronx en route, where they will set up a fuel station to serve school buses, ambulances, doctors, nurses and other critical people who need to get to work but can’t for lack of fuel, according to Dunn.

The team, from Greenfield, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne and the Berkshire County town of Lanesboro arrived around 4 p.m., after meeting up with a nine-member Barnstable County team.

The incident management team is a program of the Tri-State Fire Mutual Aid Association based in Greenfield, Dunn said, and made up of current and former firefighters and other emergency workers.

Organized in 2010, team members have received special training at the New York and Colorado wildfire and incident management academies and have responded to major structure fires, the flooding following Tropical Storm Irene and last year’s October snowstorm and Springfield tornado.

Now, the team is preparing to operate the fuel station based around a National Guard tanker in the Orchard Beach parking lot.

Dunn said the team will work 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the next 14 days and hope to be back in time for Thanksgiving.

In another sign of the unusual circumstances, the team will be sleeping 45 minutes away on the TS Kennedy, the Mass. Maritime Academy’s troopship sent down from Buzzards Bay to billet relief crews.

Dunn said it is hard to judge the damage to the area.

“It’s hard to tell. Where we are there’s lots of downed trees. We’re also sharing the parking lot with a reclamation point where they’re bringing in all the trees,” Dunn said.

The team was activated by the Mass. Emergency Management Agency at the request of the State of New York and will be paid through federal disaster relief, according to Dunn.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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