Kids en­joy a part of brigade his­tory

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

It was a case of the young check­ing out the old when a vin­tage fire en­gine rolled up to Lich­field Pri­mary School.

Fon­terra gifted a rare fire en­gine to the Welling­ton Fire Mu­seum, re­tir­ing the ve­hi­cle af­ter more than 20 years of ser­vice in the Co­op­er­a­tive.

The 1977 Dodge fire en­gine is one of only two ever built, and is the only one still in its orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

But on May 20 it was more of a toy than a priceless piece of his­tory, when pri­mary stu­dents were hang­ing out of ev­ery door and win­dow, toot­ing ev­ery horn pos­si­ble.

The fire truck stopped in at Lich­field en route to its new home in Welling­ton, joined by a Fon­terra tanker and a New Zealand Fire Ser­vice fire en­gine.

It had been part of the Fon­terra Te Rapa Emer­gency Re­sponse Team (ERT) since 1992, af­ter more than a decade in the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice.

So it was only fit­ting that Fon­terra Op­er­a­tions Manager Sa­muel Mikaere join in on the fun.

Pu­taruru Fire Brigade sta­tion of­fi­cer Fabian Perko along­side vol­un­teer fire­fighter Brad Mor­gan, gave the stu­dents a run down on fire and road safety be­fore they swamped the trucks.

The en­gines, built in Ro­torua, are the only ones in the world built to those ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

They have a smaller en­gine than a stan­dard fire truck, and were de­signed as a first re­spon­der.

Welling­ton Fire Mu­seum Cu­ra­tor Matt Sil­ver ap­proached Fon­terra about do­nat­ing the ve­hi­cle to the pri­vately funded col­lec­tion, bring­ing the mu­seum’s to­tal num­ber of fire en­gines to 15.

‘‘I’m ex­tremely grate­ful to Fon­terra for gen­er­ously do­nat­ing this unique en­gine to the mu­seum,’’ he said.

The 1977 Dodge Fire En­gine was swamped by un­der aged driv­ers and overex­cited pas­sen­gers when it stopped in to Lich­field on its way to re­tire­ment in Welling­ton.

Kids flood the cabin of the 1977 Dodge fire truck.

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