MONTVILLE — The four independent fire departments in Montville are collecting donations of water, cleaning supplies and bug spray, which they will ship to Louisiana to help the victims of Hurricane Laura in the hard-hit town of Lake Charles.
The fire departments will begin collecting the donations on Wednesday. They hope to have enough items to fill at least one, if not two, 53-foot trailers.
Their goal is to ship the materials within a week, said Steven Frischling, the Public Information Officer at the Chesterfield Fire Company, but the earlier they receive the donations, the earlier they can ship them.
“If we have [the material] in a day, we’ll ship it in a day,” said Frischling.
The donations will go to the New Iberia Fire Department in New Iberia, Louisiana. Frischling said that the department will be able to distribute the aid to the people in Lake Charles, a town located in Calcasieu Parish, one of the nine counties in Louisiana that FEMA has designated for individual assistance.
FEMA declared Hurricane Laura a disaster for Louisiana on August 28, two days after the category 4 hurricane made landfall, causing a nine- to12- foot storm surge. FEMA has already accepted 1,298 applications for individual aid and approved $10,311,636.20 in assistance.
The storm also destroyed part of the power grid in Louisiana, and residents are facing the prospect of going without electricity for weeks or months. Entergy, one of the major power companies that serves southwestern Louisiana, estimates that, as of the 30th of August, 174,683 of their customers remained without power.
In addition to water, the New Iberia Fire Department is asking for solvent, tarps, brooms, scouring gloves and industrial trash bags. They also had another request, one that surprised Frischling: bar oil, which is used in chainsaws, so that they can cut down and clear away trees that were ravaged by the storm.
“When I spoke to them, the first thing out of their mouths was ‘Great — we need Bar Oil.’ Which was not what I expected,” said Frischling.
Donations can be brought to the Montville Fire Co #1, Mohegan Fire Company, Chesterfield Fire Company and Oakdale Fire Department.
Blais Transportation LLC in Salem is providing a driver team and trailer to ship the materials, and Shipman’s Fire Equipment in Waterford will be covering travel-related expenses.