10/16/11 — Firefighters help brethren on coast still dealing with Hurricane Irene

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Firefighters help brethren on coast still dealing with Hurricane Irene

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 16, 2011 1:50 AM

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Mar-Mac firefighters Marion Byant, left, and Ronnie Whaley load up one of two trailers at the Mar-Mac Fire Department with supplies to be taken to firefighters in Dare County.

Mar-Mac Fire Chief Bill Harrell knows that when there's an emergency, every second counts.

That's why, when fire marshals from Dare County put out a message to fire departments across the state recently asking for help in the continued wake of Hurricane Irene, Harrell, his department and Arrington Bridge Fire Department sprung into action.

Harrell explained that many firefighters on the battered coast put their own needs to the side as they helped their communities, and that now, many are still awaiting insurance payments and that some individuals are still so cut off because of road issues that even essentials like toilet paper have been hard to come by.

"It's terrible when you ain't got toilet paper," Harrell, who witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by Irene during a trip to the coast with the Arr-Mac Water Rescue Team in the days following the storm.

But rather than bide the time with a lengthy collection, Harrell determined that the best way to help his colleagues was to act quickly.

"I felt like we needed to do it now," he said.

Calls to personal friends and across departments, as well as to the state Highway Patrol and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, led to two trailers full of about $6,000 worth of supplies, including food, water and cleaning supplies, that were trucked to Dare County on Saturday afternoon to help those who were hit hardest by the storm.

He also said he plans to repeat the effort later this week with an even larger haul.