Cranston firefighters return from Texas after assisting in Harvey relief efforts

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Two Cranston firefighters are back home after they went to Texas for a week to help out the Houston firefighters who were saving lives in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

“It was unbelievable,” Firefighter Brendan Croman said. “Some of the neighborhoods you went through, everybody just has couches, drywall everything on their lawns.”

Croman and fellow Cranston firefighter Scott Robinson are now back to work at the Cranston Fire Department, after spending a week down in Houston helping firefighters who were working around the clock saving lives as part of a peer support program.

“It weighs on us emotionally, because our families need us too,” Robinson said, explaining the difficulty of being a firefighter during a disaster. “And we need to be with our families, but at the same time we have a job to do.”

Robinson says the Houston firefighters were responding to 5,000 calls a day, while their own homes were getting destroyed and their families were in need of help.

“The senior captain got a call that his family was going to get evacuated within the hour, but he was stuck at work,” Robinson said. The peers were able to find help for the evacuation.

The two joined other peer supporters in helping local firefighters with home demolition. They also got them food, medications and whatever they needed, such as clean water to rinse off when the dirty floodwaters started affecting the rescuers.

“A lot of the firefighters were coming down with staph infections, unknown rashes and dysentery-type symptoms,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the firefighters and their families were incredibly appreciative, and promised to return the favor.

“Many of them said if any of you guys ever have a problem, we’ll be up there in a second to help you guys,” Robinson said.

Robinson says the entire group of peers he was working with was able to help thousands of firefighters in the immediate aftermath of the storm.