State Sends Relief For Burned-Out Flood Volunteers

State Sends Relief For Burned-Out Flood Volunteers

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Volunteers fighting the floods along Lake Ontario are getting burned out.

There's a plea to get as many people as possible to the Chaumont Fire Hall to fill sandbags, to create a surplus and then give the volunteers a break over the weekend.

"The more hands make lighter work for everybody and the more we can get done. There's many jobs there that can be done; it doesn't have to be just lifting the sandbags. There's a job where somebody just has to tie the top of them, without any heavy lifting," said Jefferson County Fire & Emergency Manager Joe Plummer.

Meanwhile, New York state is taking on more of the load as people fill sandbags to hold back rising flood waters.

Carl Seery is an assistant chief in Chaumont's volunteer fire department. For the last three weeks, his family time has been sandbagging.

"Oh yea, most of my family comes down and helps fill sandbags at night," he said.

Many volunteers are giving all they have to the cause, but on day 19, it's starting to wear people out.

"Oh, everybody's been all out. Some of us are putting in 16-17 hours a day," said Seery.

With help from the state and the National Guard, volunteers have filled more than 42,000 sandbags in Chaumont.

That's more than 2 million pounds of sand, and the state is trucking in even more.

The state has also doubled the Department of Transportation staff on site, and brought in more equipment.

"We dropped off our second sandbagger two days ago. We had it running yesterday during the day. It upped our production by 40 percent," said Sean Hennessey, assistant commissioner & operations with the New York State DOT.

Because it has been raining and the sand is so wet, it's lumping together, almost like a snow ball.

Because of that, they've actually had to get people up on top of the sandbagging machines to push that sand through.

Officials at Chaumont's Fire Department have also been trying to get aid and other assistance from the federal government.

They expect to be battling high waters as late as mid-June.

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