Firefighters Reach Out to International Community

082014-erie-internation-communityBy Lisa Adams –

After a recent drowning in Presque Isle Bay, the Erie Fire Department is reaching out to forge relationships with Erie’s growing international population. Last month on a day with strong currents in the water, fire department rescuers came to the aid of some teenage boys trapped on a concrete pad off shore. The boys were from Erie’s Bhutanese community.

A kayaker in the area at the time captured pictures of the teens. Erie fire department rescuers responded, helping a couple of the boys safely back to shore with their friends. Firefighters say they didn’t know then that another boy was missing in the water.  He surfaced two days later as a drowning victim. The tragedy is the reason that fire department representatives spoke to an orientation class Tuesday at the International Institute on East 26th Street.  They want the newest arrivals to Erie to know that the fire department is always there to help them.

Erie Fire Lt. Darren Hart coordinated the outreach.  “Our divers did a great job that day, they swam out helped the boys to safety and felt good about what they did, two days later we were called for a body recovery.  They called me and said, ‘please tell us that this isn’t related,’ hoping against hope it wasn’t and it was. It’s just an awful situation, that brought us here, but we’re going to try and make something good out of it today,” said Hart.

Firefighters not only talked about the drowning incident, they showed their uniforms so that if they ever have to rescue children those children will not be afraid and will know they are there to help. 

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