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Long Branch Volunteer Fire Company Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Company seeks donations to help repair interior damaged by flood waters

Most of Long Branch's government and emergency service buildings escaped Hurricane Sandy unscathed, but one of its fire companies was not so lucky.

Branchport Hose Company No. 3, at 241 Branchport Ave., was the only of the city's five fire houses that was damaged by the hurricane.

"We had four feet of water on the first floor; the engine bay, the living room, the kitchen, everything," firefighter and Long Branch resident Stephen Lepper said.

Luckily, he said, firefighters were out and about using the company's trucks during the hurricane, so they were not affected.

The entire first floor of the fire house has been gutted, right down to the original framework from 1905, Lepper said.

The company's close proximity to the Branchport Creek was the reason it flooded.

"Between the rains, high tides caused by the moon and a 10-12 foot storm surge, it was inevitable that we would flood, it was just a matter of how much," Lepper said.

Lepper said it will cost the company between $30,000 and $35,000 to repair the fire house. Branchport Hose Company No. 3 is one of the Long Branch Fire Department's volunteer companies, so all the money for the repairs has to be raised by its members.

Lepper said the company has begun fundraising for the repairs and is looking for anybody who wishes to donate money or their time to the rebuilding effort to contact him at slepper86@hotmail.com.

He said checks can be made out to Branchport Hose Company No. 3 and that Branchport Reconstruction should go in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: 241 Branchport Ave., Long Branch, NJ, 07740 attn: N. Johnson.

Under My Skin Tattoo Studio, 73 Memorial Parkway in Atlantic Highlands, is also hosting a fundraiser for Branchport Hose Company No. 3 on Jan. 5. All the proceeds from that day's tattoo work will go to the fire company's rebuilding efforts.

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