“During the hurricane the station was flooded, we actually had to move our trucks up to the elementary school up the road and the water kept coming.” Trevor Normile, Volunteer Fire Fighter, said. “In fact FEMA had a plane up in the air and they told us, you know, we’re leaving- you guys gotta go.”
Hurricane Florence left her mark on the Chinquapin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. Even without a station to work out of, the department continued to respond to calls.
“It was tough to deal with, especially moment when you’re leaving the community that you serve is not a good feeling, but we’ve been here,” Normile said.
Because the station has been flooded a few times before, it was questioned whether or not it should be rebuilt or moved.
“It’s heartbreaking because we saw it in Matthew, too. A lot of people around here lost their homes, a lot of fire fighters- people who were on the department here before the storm had to leave,” Normile said.
But the department decided to stay and rebuild. So far the roof and brick have been replaced and the insulation with flood damage has been removed, but that doesn’t replace the firefighters who had to leave the area.
“When you have a staff that’s already not very big, and you have a few people leave it makes a big impact,” Normile said.
Normile said just like all other volunteer fire departments, they still need help.
“You don’t have to necessarily need to put on turnout gear, run into a fire to help out your local fire department. There’s a lot of other things people can do, and sometimes it’s just stopping by and saying hi when you see us out here working or doing something,” Normile said.
Normile said the department is thankful to have a station to operate out of once again.
“Despite everything, we are still blessed,” Normile said.