When Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene hit New York, the city's firefighters did what they always do: Help others without concern for their own well being. They were especially needed on Staten Island, when a pond overflowed leaving dozens stranded.
According to the FDNY, they were initially responding to a call about a sparking electrical outlet, but when they arrived on the scene, they found water about five feet deep, and people standing on their stoops, desperately looking for help. Lt. Gil Montalvo, of Ladder Company 86, said at a press conference called by Bloomberg in order to thank the men, "The basements were fully flooded and the water was rising onto the first floors."
The stranded were beginning to wonder what would happen. Lucy Bittar, a 54-year-old resident, told the New York Post that she was scared for her life. "I was putting blankets and towels under the front door, trying to stop the flooding, but the pressure was so strong. I was thinking I was going to drown. I started crying and panicked. I thought I was going to have a heart attack."
Luckily, that's when the FDNY arrived and began rescuing people using boats. Montalvo recalled that the residents responded well to the situation, and added, "even the dogs, the cats and the rabbit were helpful."