Fire en­gines

The Shed - - Westland Industrial Heritage Park -

The her­itage park, which has a close as­so­ci­a­tion with the lo­cal fire bri­gade, has an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of fire en­gines, from a 1933 Ford CV to a new ar­rival just de­com­mis­sioned af­ter 25 years’ ser­vice. The en­gines are a pop­u­lar part of the town’s an­nual Christ­mas pa­rade.

“We get them go­ing and paint them up. They don’t have to have war­rants, just be run­ning nicely and able to stop,” says Mike Rooney, a for­mer fire­man who did time on a cou­ple of the ve­hi­cles in the shed. No­table ma­chines in­clude a ‘Green Goddess’ fire en­gine from Otira that used to fight bush fires, a 1952 Ford V8 that used to serve at Reefton, and the park favourite, a Model AA Ford fire truck. “It’s a real honey,” says Mort. Built by the Or­di­nance Depart­ment at Tren­tham, it served at Burn­ham and came over to the Coast to Seav­iew Hos­pi­tal af­ter the war, where it was used by the hos­pi­tal fire party. “It was left derelict when the hos­pi­tal closed down and we got it in a very poor state,” he says.

The lit­tle en­gine’s pièce de ré­sis­tance is a sim­ple-but-ef­fec­tive fric­tion­driven siren, which runs off the fan belt and is op­er­ated with a pedal by the pas­sen­ger.

Mike in uni­form

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