Retired fire chief donates fire trucks to fire departments in need
Howard Peiffer used his connections with a fire truck preservation society to find two underserved departments that needed apparatus
PALM COAST, Fla. — A 1984 Mack fire truck recently retired by the city of Palm Coast has a new home with the all-volunteer Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department in Harlan, Kentucky, according to a media release from the city.
It's the second time that retired Palm Coast fire chief Howard Peiffer has helped save a city fire engine from the scrap yard. In 2015, the city donated a 1986 Mack Fire Truck to the Lower Clover Fork Fire Department in neighboring Evarts, Kentucky.
Fire Engine 242, which was transported to Kentucky earlier this month, has been used for fire rescue operations in three states for more than three decades. The truck started its fire-pumping career with the New Hyde Park Fire Department on Long Island, New York. In 2004, a then-newly formed City of Palm Coast Fire Department purchased three Mack fire trucks for $55,000 in order to have backup apparatus, according to the release.
Backup fire engines are used when frontline apparatus are down for repair, for volunteer firefighter staffing, and during large-scale emergencies such as wildfires and hurricanes.
"For the last decade, these fire trucks served our department's needs to ensure that the residents of our City had uninterrupted fire protection," Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle said in the release.
In 2015, the city began the process of retiring the trucks from service. "The engines no longer met our department's needs," Beadle said. "After not finding interest through surplus sales, we were approached about donating it."
Through his connections with the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, Peiffer found two underserved fire districts in rural Kentucky that needed fire apparatus. The Palm Coast City Council approved the donations.
"This truck will protect lives and homes in our district," Sunshine Fire Chief Steven Hatfield said in the release. "It is very much needed by our department to service our citizens."
The 32-member Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department serves 1,693 people in the communities of Sunshine, Catrons Creek, Grays Knob, Baxter, Keith, Kitts, Eastbrook, Chevrolet and Lenarue. Located in the midst of the Appalachian coalfields in southeastern Kentucky, the community is known for its coal history.
Peiffer paid the cost of transporting the fire engines from Palm Coast to Kentucky. He also volunteered to travel to Kentucky, at his own expense, to train the Sunshine firefighters on how to use the firetruck. Peiffer is now associate coordinator for the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue Inc., the release states.
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