Montebello Donates Surplus Fire Engine to Armenia

By EGP Staff Report

A fire engine that has been used for over two decades in Montebello will travel across the world to help save lives in Armenia, a donation approved by the city council.

Council members authorized the fire department to declare the fire engine as “surplus” and then approved the donation of the fire apparatus to Armenia during last week’s council meeting.

Kids explore one of Montebello’s fire engines during Fire Service day on May 11. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“[Armenia] is a country in need of a more modern engine,” said Councilman Jack Hadjinian who facilitated the donation process and secured the funds to cover shipping costs.

The donation came about after the Montebello Fire Department purchased a new fire engine with funds from an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). The grant required the fire department to classify one of its older fire engine as surplus, preventing the apparatus from ever being used for firefighting in the United States and freeing it up to be scrapped for metal or donated.

Hadjinian requested that the fire engine be donated to Armenia.

“I saw this as an opportunity to help a fire agency in need,” he said.

The Montebello Fire Department has previously donated surplus fire engines and equipment to Armenia and to Mexico in 2003.

Hadjinian is working with the local branch of the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Cultural Foundation to secure the funds to ship the fire truck to the country located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Hadjinian estimates it will cost $3,000 to $5,000.

According to Montebello Fire Chief Dominic Hebert, this is the first time the city has acquired a fire engine with a grant. The last time the city purchased a fire truck was in 2003.

“We’ve had to keep our equipment in service longer than we would have  [otherwise] because of budget constraints,” Hebert said.

The new fire engine meets all current safety standards and has a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS), which is often used in wild fires and which has the capacity extinguish a fire more quickly.

“It provides for a safer environment for the crew to operate off of and for the citizens as well,” Hebert told EGP.

The now retired fire engine had been in use since 1987 and no longer met the department’s needs, the fire chief said. The maintenance needed to keep it in service had become too expensive, he said.

Over 300 residents, many of them children, got a close up look at the new fire fighting equipment during the fire department’s open house last Saturday.

The paperwork for the donation, including passing Customs, still needs to be completed before the donated truck can head to its new home. Hadjinian expects the donated fire truck to arrive in Armenia in a couple of months.

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May 16, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “Montebello Donates Surplus Fire Engine to Armenia”

  1. Artur on May 17th, 2013 4:22 am

    Thanks for your gift, but it is the shame of Armenia to rely on 20 years old fire engines. In normal countries 15 years is the limit.

  2. Michael on May 27th, 2013 3:38 pm

    Wow, my tiny all-volunteer fire department here in frontier northeastern Oregon would be ECSTATIC to have an engine that’s only 20 years old.

    We’re based in a small city of 45 people where we provide fire/rescue service and mutual aid to ranches, three highways and other communities in 150 square miles of unprotected area. Our fire department was recently resurrected last year after years of inactivity and has a tiny budget just enough to fuel the trucks, pay utilities and government fees and make minor repairs. Aside from that, we depend solely upon donation for equipment, training and improvements.

    Our only working structure apparatus is a 1975 Ford Pirsch & Sons Type 2 engine. That’s 38 years old. It used to be a training engine for a larger department in the Willamette Valley during the 80s/early 90s. It’s been through three different owners and our department got it from a nearby ranch years ago.. It’s really beat up, body banged in, some doors don’t shut right, leaks a lot, has a finicky pump, rust everywhere and electrical/mechanical issues. It’s only a matter of time before it quits on us, so it’s really best suited to be a back-up engine. Or a collector’s project.

    However, it’s relatively reliable and it’s all we’ve got. The soonest any kind of fire or medical mutual aid can arrive here is 45-60 minutes from any direction-in good weather. We have been trying for a while to get a replacement engine and have seen so many good pieces of good used surplus apparatus get sent to other countries while departments like ours right here in the U.S. suffer with antiquated junk.

    Shouldn’t charity start at HOME first? I’m all for helping people around the world. Really. However, I’m sure there are some small rural volunteer fire departments like us in the West Coast and the Southwest who are really hurting for equipment just as much as anyone in Armenia or anywhere else in the world. What’s so wrong with helping a needy…

  3. California fire truck donated to Armenia | Fire Truck Blog on February 18th, 2014 9:01 am

    […] After the department purchased a new rig with an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, an old fire truck had to be classified as surplus and not available for use in the United States, reported. […]

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