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Fire company helps Mississippi county

September 16, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Connected by a name, a small fire department in Washington County is extending its hand some 1,000 miles south to a Mississippi county still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

The Hancock Fire Co. is collecting money and equipment for fire companies in Hancock County, Miss., which was among the places hardest hit by the hurricane, Capt. Greg Yost said in a phone interview Thursday.

The fire company plans to hold a boot drive during this weekend's Canal Apple Days Festival to kick off the relief effort. It also is asking for a variety of equipment needed for firefighting, including protective gear and hand tools.

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A bingo night fundraiser also will be held to benefit Hancock County companies, Yost said.

The Hancock Fire Co. is calling on other area fire companies, local governments and police departments to donate any surplus equipment, which will be hauled to the companies in Hancock County, Yost said.

It also is asking residents, churches and other organizations to pitch in with clothing, toiletries, water, nonperishable food and other necessities.

"Not only did these firefighters lose most of their fire company, but they lost personally as well," Yost said in a written statement. "They are trying to help their neighbors while dealing with their own loss."

Hancock County has a population of 42,967, according to the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce's Web site. County officials there could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Yost said he found out about Hancock County by watching and reading news about the storm's devastation.

Because of the shared name, he said he thought it would be nice to help out.

After doing some research, Yost discovered Hancock County's small fire departments lost a significant amount of equipment. Some even lost firetrucks, he said.

"I learned there is a West Hancock Volunteer Fire and Rescue among other companies in that county," Yost said in the statement. "They lost all their equipment except for a mini-pumper. Only a shell of their building remains and they lost everything inside it."

Monetary donations may be mailed to Hancock County Relief Fund, Hancock Fire Co., 3 Fulton St., Hancock, MD 21750. Money and equipment also may be dropped off at the fire station.

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