09/23/05 — Firefighters are helping in Alabama after Katrina

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Firefighters are helping in Alabama after Katrina

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on September 23, 2005 1:48 PM

Two Goldsboro firefighters who volunteered to help in the relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast are putting up shelters in Birmingham, Ala.

"I was glad to hear from both of them," Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield said Thursday.

Fire Lt. Rob Loreman and Firefighter Jourdon Pope are working together, erecting Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) shelters to help evacuees who are mostly from Louisiana, the chief said.

Loreman was issued a cell phone during a two-day training session in Atlanta before he and Pope were assigned to Alabama.

"Rob must be in charge of the phone," the chief quipped, "because he has called me twice." Loreman also called from Atlanta during training.

"They are working long hours -- 16 hours a day, seven days a week," Greenfield said. "... It's constant all-day work."

Greenfield said he had tried to call the men on Loreman's personal cell phone, but could not get through. Loreman said he was having trouble with the phone.

The two left Goldsboro on Sept. 8, flying from Kinston to Atlanta. Greenfield said they should be home Oct. 8.

The chief said Loreman and Pope are being paid through the city, which will be reimbursed by FEMA.

FEMA officials asked the two firefighters to renew their contract for a longer period and move to Houston, but Greenfield said, "We decided against that."

Hurricane Ophelia struck the North Carolina coast after Loreman and Pope left, the chief noted.

"There was a possibility that it could have come inland and brought more damage to us," he said.

Houston could receive the full force of Hurricane Rita that is moving westward in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to make landfall tonight or early Saturday.

"I feel sorry for the people on the Gulf Coast," Greenfield said. "This storm is really bad and will cause a lot of damage. I don't know if anything in its path will survive. Maybe it will weaken before it hits land. They have a good plan to evacuate people. FEMA is already on the spot. Hopefully, their plan will be a success."