MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Four Arizona firefighters with Rural Metro Fire are in New York City, one of the hardest hit cities for coronavirus.

"Naturally I wanted to help and said go ahead and put my name in, and less than a day later I was on a plane," said Shawn Gilleland, a spokesperson for Rural Metro Fire. Gilleland's job is to speak with news stations.

"I'm managing some of the media requests, talking to folks, going around and documenting some of what's going on around here with some of the guys in the field and just working with the incident command stuff on any kinds of requests for info," said Gilleland.

He said he got to New York City April 29th and will likely stay through next week.

"Before we were dispatched out here and responded to the request from FEMA, they were overloaded with the number of calls and people who needed help that they just couldn't get, and FDNY couldn't get enough people out there," said Gilleland.

He said many businesses are still closed in New York.

"When I first got here, the city itself was almost a ghost town," said Gilleland. "There was really very few people on the streets and very little traffic, but now it's starting to increase the number of people and cars."

Crews there try to social distance, wear masks and stay healthy.

It's not the trip to New York Gilleland ever thought he'd have, but he has peace in knowing he's making a difference.

"Everybody out here has a mission and a goal to help them, and so that's what kind of drives them forward," said Gilleland. "Many of these folks have been here for 45 days or more."


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