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Tornado response gets state awards


Nine affected fire forces, two others honored



1205Firefighters
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Brimfield Fire Chaplain Rev. Ian Lynch, right, speaks to one of his colleagues just before all of those on stage departed the hall. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
December 04, 2011
WORCESTER — Fire departments from the tornado-hit towns were singled out by the state for a special award commemorating their service June 1 as part of the 22nd annual Firefighter of the Year ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 30.

"It was a good recognition of team effort," said Southbridge Fire Lt. Jason Cantara. "During a very trying time, everybody stepped up. Barring any other kind of emergency we've encountered, you don't believe an F3 tornado would ever touch down here."

Of course, as we all now know, it can. Around 5 p.m. June 1, the tornado formed in Westfield and rolled through nine communities before vanishing into the sky again near Guelphwood Road in Charlton. Those nine fire departments — Westfield, West Springfield, Springfield, Agawam, Wilbraham, Monson, Brimfield, Sturbridge, Southbridge — were praised by state Fire Marshal Steven Coan. Two others — Norfolk and Chelmsford — shared a separate award for their assistance efforts to the tornado-stricken towns.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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