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City Of Akron Fire Sends Firefighters To Louisiana As The State Continues To Battle Wildfires



Akron, Ohio, August 30, 2023 — This morning at 5am, a group of 5 from the Akron Fire Department joined others from Cuyahoga Falls Fire and Green Fire as they departed to Leesville, Louisiana to answer an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) call for help. The crew of 13 is traveling to Leesville to help man their fire stations while the crews from Leesville are combatting wildfires across Louisiana.

“I'm incredibly proud of these firefighters and officers who have volunteered to help their colleagues in Louisiana,” said Akron Fire Chief Joseph Natko. “The call to public service runs deep in each and every member of this crew and I wish them luck as they travel to replace crews in Leesville. We send our thoughts and prayers to the residents of Louisiana as they continue to feel the impact of these wildfires.”

The crew from Akron Fire includes District Chief Frank Poletta, Lieutenant Jamie Dixon, and Firefighters Joe Bryant, Matt Uhl, and Justin Tony. They join Battalion Chief Jason Marzilli and Firemedics Dave Montgomery, Matt White, and Vincent Deluca from Green Fire as well as Lieutenant Konrad Lenk, and Firefighters Richard Patterson, Addison Marable, and Trenton Donald from Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department. They should arrive in Leesville by 11pm tonight and will be there for 14 days.

Extreme drought and record-breaking heat across Louisiana have caused over 600 wildfires in August alone. The largest fire currently is the Tiger Island Fire, which was first reported on August 22. It spread rapidly, reportedly doubling in size over the weekend, growing to more than 33,000 acres. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said this weekend 441 different forest fires are still burning across the state.

“It’s no surprise to me that this crew of extraordinary public servants have once again answered the call to serve,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “The bravery it takes to run towards danger cannot be overstated, and we wish all of our crews a safe return where I know their family and friends will be eagerly anticipating their arrival. I thank these 13 firefighters and officers for their willingness to help.”

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