A retired Middletown fire truck recently arrived in the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The truck was donated by the city of Middletown and shipped by a flatbed truck to New Jersey where it was shipped to Kingstown, which is the capital and chief port. Officials said after the fire truck cleared customs, the policy was to put the vehicle into service immediately. CONTRIBUTED

Former Middletown fire truck finishes its long journey to serve Caribbean island

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.

MORE: This retired Middletown fire engine will again help fight fires, but this time in the Caribbean

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.

MORE: Retired Middletown fire engine being transferred to the Caribbean

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 Middletown was also donating self-contained breathing apparatus that is out of date for use in the U.S.

MORE: Middletown donating retired fire engine to Caribbean nation to replace pickup truck

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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