To say the Weston Volunteer Fire Department was busy during Superstorm Sandy would be an understatement. Between Monday, Oct. 29, when the storm started, and Sunday, Nov. 4, the department responded to 109 incidents. (See the Fire Calls listing in the Nov. 8 issue of The Weston Forum.)
During that time, the all-volunteer staff logged in a total of 925 hours, cleared 28 roads that were blocked by trees, went on 12 calls where houses were struck by trees, and responded to eight carbon monoxide calls — some involving the improper use of generators in garages. Fortunately on those calls, no injuries were reported.
The department also performed 10 welfare checks on residents at risk.
When the storm first hit, 25 members of the fire department spent the night at both fire stations in town so they would be at the ready in case of an emergency.
The department also helped other emergency workers throughout the storm and cleanup effort by feeding members of the Police Department, dispatchers, town highway crew members, school maintenance personnel, and National Guard members.
Fire Chief John Pokorny, Deputy Chief Terry Blake, Assistant Chief Andy Maccabe, and department officers attended Emergency Operation Center meetings throughout the week and coordinated efforts with the emergency management director and other town agencies.
On Monday, Oct. 29, around 6:30 p.m., the Fire Department stopped responding to routine calls because of high winds and dangerous conditions. The department would have responded to life-and-death emergencies during that time if any of those calls had been received.
During the most intense part of the storm, all eight pieces of the department’s fire apparatus were committed to emergency responses. Most of the roads in town became impassable because of downed trees and wires.
At one point during the storm, a large tree fell, pulling wires down on Weston Road, which caused a responding fire apparatus to have to swerve out of the way to avoid being struck.
Fire personnel who were at a call on Georgetown Road where wires were down and burning had a close call when two large trees fell next to their vehicle.
The house of one firefighter, Charlie Cole, was struck by a large tree while he was responding to another emergency in town. After insuring the safety of his family, Mr. Cole courageously returned to the Fire Department and continued to volunteer his time safeguarding the town.
Immediately following the storm, the department assisted police and cleared 20 roads in order to clear ways for emergency vehicles to respond.
On the night of the storm, the department learned that Easton firefighter Lt. Russell Neary was killed by a falling tree while returning from a fire response.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, 23 firefighters from Weston attended his funeral service and the department sent an engine and a crew to provide townwide fire coverage for Easton during the service.
“This was the worst storm Weston has ever endured,” said Deputy Chief Terry Blake.