Volunteer firefighters 'gut & pump' in Breezy Point

November 16, 2012 2:51:33 PM PST
As you walk around Breezy Point, it's all so overwhelming. Homeowners don't even know where to begin.

"We don't even know what needs to be done," said John Matzen, a Breezy Point homeowner.

They are the off-duty firefighters and first responders volunteering their time, many now a part of operation "Gut and Pump". It's fast-becoming a catch-phrase in this storm-ravaged community.

"People kind of know who we are at this point in time," said Phil Pillet, of Operation Gut and Pump.

There's a warm tent from the U.S. Army and a volunteer who's become a dispatcher.

The goal is to pump out the water, and then gut the homes so there's no mold.

That is for the homes that can be saved.

So many that burned during the superstorm cannot be saved.

Kevin Neafsey just finished a 24-hour shift at Engine 45 in the Bronx. He didn't go to sleep afterwards; he came to Breezy Point to volunteer.

"I'm shot, but there are a lot of people that need help," Neafsey said.

There's Danny Burns, a retired firefighter who has no trouble doing the heavy lifting

"I'm helping a friend of mine. I used to play paddle ball with him. The guy is a Korean War Veteran," Burns said.

What's truly amazing is how much work they've done.

"Now it's empty, last week it was a shambles," said Peter Mulholland, a Breezy Point homeowner.

They are acts of kindness that those on the receiving end say they can't thank them enough for.

"God forbid you offer them money to thank them. You want to give them what little you have and they won't take anything," Matzen said.

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