Westwood firefighters have more need of chainsaws than fire hoses this week.

Chain saws are a top priority tool for Westwood firefighters this week.

They've been using the saws to cut fallen trees blocking roads in their unincorporated community so they can get to people who are stuck in their homes.

One Westwood crew cut nine trees Tuesday night on a gravel road to evacuate a 93-year-old man from his home, said Westwood Fire Chief Brent Webster. He had lost power. The firefighters drove him to his son's home.

Webster has had 12 to 14 firefighters at the station at all times since the series of storms started, and by midweek they had been out on more than 70 calls. Besides clearing trees from roads, they have rolled for electrical transformer fires, downed electrical service drops and the like.

The work isn't easy. Ice makes cutting the trees more difficult. But the county doesn't have enough workers to do it without the fire department's help.

Firefighters also are ready to help people who can't get out for food and medicines.

Webster was hoping on Wednesday to cut back to four or five at the station at a time so his firefighters could get some rest. Most work full-time jobs and go to the station in their spare time.

They do it for their community, he said. The crisis effort has cost the department only about $300 for food to keep the firefighters fed.

"I know it sounds corny, but these boys want to help. It's all their family out there, and that's the way they see it."


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