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Chicago Firefighter Helping Collect Bottled Water For Flint, Michigan

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Shocked by the tainted water scandal in Flint, Michigan, a Chicago firefighter has been collecting bottled water to help out, and has been blown away by how many people are donating.

"My car's full right now, because people have called and said 'Come pick this water up,'" firefighter Eric Washington said.

A member of Truck 38 in the Albany Park neighborhood, Washington initially asked for donated water from friends on Facebook, but ended up getting responses from total strangers.

"I didn't expect the response that I have gotten," he said. "Right now I've got about 130 cases of water in my living room."

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Washington also started a GoFundMe page which has exceeded its goal of $2,000.

He said he wanted to help out after learning about the water crisis in Flint, after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the city from Detroit water to Flint River water, which was highly polluted, and caused lead to leach from old pipes. Flint has since switched back to Detroit waters after elevated lead levels were found in Flint children, but officials fear damaged pipes could still be leaching lead into water.

"For these people to be subjected to this water, it's sad," he said. "When we see people fear drinking water; we see this in third-world countries, we don't see this in the United States."

Washington has asked people to drop off cases of water at Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Av., on Saturday, January 30, after 9 a.m. He'll take it from there to Flint, but there's a slight problem.

"I was going to bring a small U-Haul truck," he said. Instead, he could use a really big one if someone is willing to donate a truck for the trip.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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