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NYC rescue team pulls four from Haiti wreckage

James Coll, right, and Randy Miller, left, members

James Coll, right, and Randy Miller, left, members of the New York City Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, help rescue Mario Voltaire from a collapsed multistory building. Both serve in the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit. Coll is a resident of Seaford, and Milller is a resident of Patchouge. (Jan. 17, 2010) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

A team of New York City firefighters and police officers trained in search and rescue, and co-led by Chief Joseph Downey of West Islip, pulled four people from building wreckage in Haiti Sunday, authorities said.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said the team, which included at least three Long Islanders, rescued two men and a teenage girl trapped in the rubble of a Port-au-Prince grocery store.

>>PHOTOS: Charles Eckert's latest photos from Haiti

The victims told rescuers that they had survived on food and water from the store. Twenty-six rescuers from the New York police and fire departments cut through concrete blocks to reach them.

Later Sunday the team rescued a 55-year-old man who was trapped in the rubble of a four-story building, also in Port-au-Prince.

Lynn Downey, Joseph Downey' wife, said her husband, 47, had sent her two e-mails. "He said everybody is doing well, that they worked through the night and that they are very, very busy."

The team, which plans to spend at least a week in Haiti, is one of 28 federal urban search and rescue nationwide that can mobilize during a disaster.

James Coll, a team member from Seaford, said, "The hardest part of the rescue was the communication," referring to language barriers. " The determination was there, we had the tools here, we had the resources."

The New York team, made of officers from the police and fire departments, receives extensive training in structural collapse. They brought three tractor-trailers full of equipment, including sound gear, cutting tools and rescue dogs.

With AP

>>PHOTOS: Newsday's Charles Eckert in Haiti | Frantic rescue effort in Haiti | Deadliest recent earthquakes

>> LIVE: Twitter coverage of the scene in Haiti, from aid agencies, and reaction worldwide

>> VIDEOS: Latest videos from Haiti and on LI

>> MORE: Read more about LIers grieving and LI's efforts to help | Latest news from Haiti | Haiti's road to chaos: 2006 Newsday series

 


HOW TO HELP

* You can help immediately by texting "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill and given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts.

* Wyclef Jean, a rapper and hip-hop artist from Haiti, urged people to text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 toward earthquake relief. Yéle Haiti is a grassroots movement inspiring change in Haiti through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment, according to its Web site.

* The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. The Red Cross has also set up a Web site to help family members find and contact relatives.

* You can also go online to organizations such as the Red Cross and MercyCorps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts.

The FBI warned Internet users to be wary of e-mail messages seeking donations in the aftermath of the quake. People who want to send money or assistance should contribute to known organizations and should be careful not to respond to unsolicited e-mails, officials said.

 

Other Web sites accepting donations include:

-Haitian Health Foundation
-Hope for Haiti
-UNICEF
-International Medical Corps
-Beyond Borders
-AmeriCares

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