Firefighters pumping out and cleaning up in Mohawk


MOHAWK, N.Y. (WKTV) - Long days and even longer nights with very little rest- yet these volunteer firefighters show no sign of giving up. On Friday alone crews pumped out more than 100 basements in Mohawk and the calls just keep on coming.

"It's a lot of all day work," said Victoria Cheney from the Mohawk Fire Department. "Lifting, carrying back and forth, putting them on the trucks. Unloading, reloading, coming back again. Getting very little sleep, waking up sore and coming back and doing it again. So it's draining but it's gotta be done."

These volunteers have been doing all they can to help out since the floods started on Friday. "People were trapped, unsure if their homes were safe or not," said Mohawk Firefighter Dan Calder.

Many members have been checking on their elderly neighbors. "Without power they don't have the cooling for themselves," said Calder. "We've gone to a couple of homes around here and made sure that people are taking their medications, make sure they're eating, people are giving them water."

"We've been pumping and waiting for orders," said Lt. David Green with the Mohawk Fire Department. "They go through our station, we get the orders written down in a nice organized manner. Some crews took three four different orders at a time."

"We had to evacuate people from their homes on Friday and since then it's just been an ongoing process of evaluating the damage and pumping out basements," said Mohawk Firefighter Mark Moreau. "Luckily we've gotten breaks from the rain so we can get basements pumped out before they fill right up again. We've been distributing water, relaying information throughout the community. When we didn't have power, we were going around on the PA system updating people on the situation."

"Once the power came back on we had to go door to door asking people to conserve their energy as much as possible. We are just doing the best we can to get everyone back on their feet," said Cheney. "We've been taking care of most of the flooding calls. We've called in other fire departments to take care of the fire calls and the motor vehicle accidents. We're taking care of most of the disaster stuff."

This group of Mohawk Firefighters was over on Devendorf Street Tuesday evening, pumping out the home of James and Mary Childs for the third time. "I looked out in the street and the water was rising," said James Childs. "I looked across the street and the neighbors lawn was under water and our lawn was like a pond and all of the sudden we heard a loud noise. I went over and I flipped on the light in the cellar and it looked like someone just opened a flood gate. It blew both doors wide open and the water just came rushing in. That's when i took my wife and my dog and got out."

"It was horrendous," said Mary Childs, who is recovering from shoulder surgery she underwent less than two weeks ago. "It's just, everything happened so fast, trying to get out of the house trying to figure out what to take with you."

"I have two sump pumps running on a portable generator," said James Childs. "But it just isn't enough."

Richard and Deborah Scott live on Charles Street. Their home was condemned. "I heard the sirens because it was real bad and I heard them with the microphones saying to evacuate and I'm thinking- Oh No not '06 again," said Deborah Scott. "So I went to the window and I see the creek overflowing, coming out of the neighbors driveway and I told my husband we need to get the vehicles out before we lose them so we were able to get the vehicles up a few blocks and we came back and it was just like grand rapids here and we couldn't even get back to the house to rescue the dog." The Scotts were able to come back for the dog with the help of a bucket loader.

On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo toured the Scotts property. Cuomo told them the state was going to do all it can to repair and fix things to make it better than what it was before the floods. Even after hearing that Deborah Scott says she is not sure she will be able to move back in her home. "After seeing all this happen I don't think I ever want to live here again. We just want to get it where we can just get rid of it and have it be someone else's worry. I just can't do it."

James and Mary Child will likely do the same. "We need to get away from the creek. There's a lot of people on the street that feel the same way. They've had enough," said James Childs.

"We're getting too old for this," said Mary Childs. "Look at all the money we've gone through. In six years- two furnaces, two hot water heaters, two washers and dryers. They are not cheap."

But in the meantime there is still so much clean up left to do. These volunteer firefighters will be there to help. "They say it's a brotherhood," said Moreau. "We've had fire departments from all over the state lend a hand and they've been working tirelessly side by side with us to try to get the community back together."

"I couldn't be prouder to be a firefighter right now. To see all the comradery that's been happening with all the fire departments," said Calder. "If the rain keeps up like it is, as long as there is space in between and it gives that water time to get to the canals, I think we're gonna make it."

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