Wilmington firefighters help in Hurricane Ian relief in Florida

Wilmington firefighters help in Hurricane Ian relief in Florida
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 11:45 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As the death toll continues to climb following Hurricane Ian, it’s clear the road to recovery in Florida will be a long one. Several Wilmington Fire Department firefighters took it upon themselves to make that relief effort a little easier.

While first responders in Wilmington were largely spared from any serious emergencies during Hurricane Ian, the same cannot be said about their counterparts in Florida. That’s why five Wilmington Firefighters left for Florida to lend a helping hand.

“If we are ever in need or if anyone is ever in need, we hope that they can step up and do the same for others,” Lt. Alex Fantuzzi of WFD said.

Heart 9-11, a national organization that assisted WFD and first responders back in 2018 following Hurricane Florence, didn’t hesitate to get back into action when the call went out for volunteers four years later.

While on the ground, they saw everything from boats flung into homes to pools sitting in the streets. A disaster like this only adds to a mentally and physically challenging job, and they said getting to ease that burden for others is just as powerful for them.

“Helping others helps us. Helps us relieve the stress we tend to go through on a day-to-day basis. So being able to offer that help to others that are in a similar situation as it helps us heal too,” Captain Rodney Lester of WFD said.

Lester says that when Heart 9/11 came in 2018, they left a relief trailer for future use equipped with tarps, chainsaws, PPE items, fuel, and more. WFD was able to use that trailer and supplies while helping out in Florida.