US Firefighters Volunteer to Help Put Out Hamas Terror Rocket Fires in Israel


Bill Hirth is back home in Arlington, Texas after helping fight fires in Israel.

An American delegation of 13 senior firefighters and officers are in Israel assisting their Israeli counterparts in extinguishing fires caused by Hamas rocket explosions.

The firefighters from Los Angeles, Texas and Washington DC, have been working around the clock in Israel’s south in extinguishing blazes and helping to find the rockets that land in open areas.

“We were all part of the massive tragedy that was 9/11. There we undertook search and rescue missions. When we heard that hundreds of rockets are falling on Israel, we decided to join forces and come and help,” firefighter 51-year-old Hirth said.

“The rocket fired by Hamas hit homes in Ashkelon, Sderot and other communities. We have already been at scenes in a number of such communities, our mission is not simple, hard and exhausting, but we must help, the situation here is insufferable.”

The firefighters are part of the Emergency Volunteer Project.

“I love Israel and its people — they are kind and giving. So I wanted to be helpful,” said Hirth. “My family has been very supportive, even though my wife doesn’t really want to know the details of what I’m doing.”

Hirth is here with 12 other colleagues of the Emergency Volunteers Project, a non-profit organization that trains American firefighters to operate in the Israeli environment during emergencies.

When the rockets from Gaza began to fall in Israel last week, 13 American firefighters, including Hirth, flew to Israel, funded by the Washington, DC Jewish Federation. They came from Texas, California, New York, Washington DC and South Carolina, and have been in the south since they arrived, where they will remain until a new round of firefighters arrive from the US.

It’s been an intense few days, said Hirth. So far, he’s learned a lot on the job, from fighting fire in concrete buildings to working with fewer people.

“Israelis do more with less,” he said. “This experience has helped me understand how Israeli firefighters are able to offer the same service with fewer members on the team.”

Hirth was one of the first American firefighters to join the project, first training in Texas, and then with the first group in Israel. He currently directs the project in the US, meeting with locals and making sure both sets of firefighters — in Israel and the US — have what they need.

“The brotherhood of the firefighters goes all over the world,” he said. “We’re like a family. A lot of American firefighters love Israel; they’re begging to come.”

  • darnellecheri

    I love this!

  • Nico from the Netherlands

    These guys deserve medals!

  • Habbgun

    Unlike the government I bet these firemen know who killed their brothers on 9/11.

  • wileyvet

    What a great story. True Americans never cease to amaze me in their decency and moral clarity. Very uplifting, Mr. Greenfield. Thank you.

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  • Mladen_Andrijasevic

    Wonderful!. We do have the same values. Also the number of Israeli volunteers that are trying to help is just amazing. Steady stream of people coming to the hospital in Be’er Sheva bringing food and parcels shows that this country has come together at this dangerous moment.

    But Daniel, I have a question. Now that Israel has flatly rejected Kerry’s ceasefire plan would you not say that you were too pessimistic about this time being different? Fifteen days ago in A Game Changer in Gaza I wrote “I think that Daniel Greenfield is wrong this time. Israel is aiming for Choice No 1 or at least a very strong version of Choice 2. i.e. “They are being carried out to degrade its military capabilities which will buy a year or two of relative peace.”

    Your answer was : It would be nice if you were right, but the history suggests otherwise

    Would you not say that this time it IS different?. Or is it too early to tell?

    • Lea

      The one thing Israel should not do, is to stop the mission until the objective has been reached and this means it has to carry on. It is not up to Hamas, a bunch of Islamic criminals to choose when it will and will not ceasefire. And we don’t respect eid.

  • pupsncats

    These guys are fantastic. Volunteering to help the Israeli’s is an act of honor and courage considering how dangerous it is to be in there in the middle of the barbarian Hamas attacks.

  • joan

    This is a very uplifting story. I read another one about Israelis who went about getting fellow Israelis to attend the funeral of a slain American soldier from Texas killed in the Gaza operations, and over 20,000 attended. Truly inspiring!