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Queens Chronicle

A new ride for West Hamilton vollies

Pennsylvania fire company donates engine to department hit by Sandy

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Thu May 2, 2013.

The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department has been feeling the love of other fire companies like theirs ever since the department lost all of their vehicles in Hurricane Sandy.

The crew has received donated fire trucks from all across the country, including from vollies as far away as Mississippi and Georgia.

Now, a volunteer fire department from a small town near Pittsburgh, Pa. is adding to the fleet.

A new fire engine was donated on April 17 by the Larimer Volunteer Fire Department in North Huntingdon Township, Pa.

WHBVFD Treasurer Mitch Udowitch and firefighter John Abouricheh traveled to Pennsylvania to pick up the new truck last week.

“It’s amazing how people throughout the community and the country came out to help us,” Udowitch said.

Bill Hardy, chief of the Larimer Volunteer Fire Department, told the Greensburg Tribune-Review, a newspaper in Pennsylvania, he was happy the company was able to step in.

“We’ll do whatever we can to help them out,” he said.

The WHBVFD lost nearly every vehicle in the flood caused by Sandy’s storm surge on Oct. 29. An ambulance moved to higher ground only received minor flood damage. Nevertheless, members of the department on duty that night managed to save a woman and her mother from a home in Hamilton Beach as the floodwaters rose.

The firefighters who served that night were recognized with citations from local officials a month after Sandy hit.

After the storm, the firehouse became a town square for hurricane victims who went weeks — and in some cases months — without heat and electricity.

This is the third fire truck the WHBVFD has received since Sandy. The department received donated vehicles from volunteer fire departments in Gulf Park Estates, Miss., which suffered tremendous losses in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Somerset County, Pa., which gave the Hamilton Beach vollies a pumper that had responded to the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

The WHBVFD even got some supplies from the Glendale and Forest Hills volunteer ambulance corps in the aftermath of Sandy.

The new engine is now parked in the firehouse’s lot on the corner of Davenport Court and 104th Street. It will be used mainly to fight brush fires.

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