Local firefighters collect equipment to help departments ravaged by Kentucky tornado

PITTSBURGH — Firefighting is a brotherhood. No matter the distance. And a group of western Pennsylvania firefighters is going the distance, literally, to help their brothers in need.

A dozen local firefighters were in Kentucky delivering donated firefighting equipment to fire departments that were ravaged by the tornado outbreak there in December.

Members of the FD Relief Mission of Western PA collected jackets, pants, boots, coats, helmets, fans and stretchers.

“Rescue tools, hose, everything that they need to put onto a firetruck -- it’s donated,” said Munhall Fire Captain Mike Talerico.

He said a few weeks ago they decided they wanted to help the firefighters in Kentucky. Within two weeks, they collected gear from more than 75 departments in western Pennsylvania. That’s enough to fill a 53-foot trailer.

Doug Skelly with Allegheny Valley Fire Apparatus went down, too. He’ll see if he can fix anything for the Kentucky departments.

Even though the fire stations they’re helping are nine hours away, they’re the closest to home that they’ve helped.

FD Relief Mission of Western PA started five years ago when they donated equipment and trucks to fire departments in the Dominican Republic.

“Everyone that’s helped us, it’s greatly appreciated,” said Lt. Hanel.