A retired Middletown fire engine has arrived and is back in service in a new community in the Caribbean.
The retired 1997 Luverne fire engine could have been sold for scrap, but the Middletown Division of Fire worked with Cincinnati firefighter Walter Cook, who facilitates donations of retired fire apparatus and equipment to nations in the Caribbean and in South America.
Cook said the Middletown fire engine was placed on a flatbed truck, arrived in New Jersey on Sept. 18 and was shipped to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The fire engine arrived in Kingstown, that nation’s capital city and chief port, on Oct. 17 and cleared customs.
Howie Prince, consulate general of St. Vincent and The Grenadines to the U.S., accepted the Middletown fire engine during a formal transfer ceremony in August.
Prince told the Journal-News that the fire engine “has been properly received and will be properly used.”
“It’s our policy to put these vehicles into service as soon as possible after arrival,” he said.
In August, Prince said the donated fire engine, which has a 1,000-gallon water tank, would be used in the rural areas to improve the current firefighting equipment.
In some places in the rural areas of that nation, a fire truck is actually a small water tank with a small hose in the back of a pickup truck bed, according to Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli.
At the transfer ceremony, Prince said if the fire engine can be used on the island for another five years, “there is no telling how many lives it would have saved and one life that is saved is enough for it to be in existence.”
City officials said Middletown’s fire department also donated old hand tools and that fire departments in Russellville, Ohio, and Shelby County, Ky., gave other fire gear as part of this donation. Middletown was also donating self-contained breathing apparatus that is out of date for use in the U.S.
The Division of Fire has made other donations of old firefighting gear and breathing equipment on several occasions in the past to the Dominican Republic and other nations’ firefighting and police services. The equipment and gear no longer met National Fire Protection Association standards and, therefore, could not be used in the United States, officials said.
The 1997 Luverne fire engine, which was housed at the Dixie Highway fire station, was taken out of front line service in 2009 and out of reserve status in July when the city received two new fire engines.
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