Fire and PD return from Superstorm Sandy area - New York News

Fire and PD return from Superstorm Sandy area

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PHOENIX -

First responders from around the country have answered the call for help from the people of New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Thursday afternoon, our very own emergency response team returned home to the valley.

Superstorm Sandy devastated the New York City area and the Jersey Shore -- the images are unforgettable, even for those of us thousands of miles away.

Thursday, 22 team members from Phoenix Fire and Police departments and emergency management returned from a two and a half week trip back east.

They logged a staggering 6,000-plus man hours, offering logistical support to the men and woman on the ground trying to clean up and get life back to normal.

"It was as bad as Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Ike in Galveston, complete devastation," says Phoenix Fire Chief Dep. Chip Gleason.

The team worked tirelessly in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.

The Rockaways neighborhood of Queens was, by far, the hardest hit by water, wind and fire. You remember the massive blaze that torched homes as fire fighters tried the best they could to even get close.

"In the midst of all of this area that had significant flooding and been devastated by water, you had an area that was just 150 homes burned down to the ground," says Gleason.

Aside from the assistance offered by our own first responders, this incident management team is now better prepared for emergencies we might face here at home in the desert.

"When you have fire department, police officials working together side by side, sleeping eating carrying out the mission together, that's important," says Sgt. Tommy Thompson, Phoenix PD.

We're still seeing the effect of sandy in other ways. Kohl's, Target and Macy's blamed the storm for weak sales in November.

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