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Old Friends Part Ways

Westport Fire Department Engine 8 and Tim Reilly have been friends for seven years. Now it's time for them to part ways. The only question is, where is Engine 8 going? The Representative Town Meeting approved $468,986 to replace the venerable engine with a new one.

The day after they gave the OK, Engine 8's successor was already in the station while crews worked to get it properly fitted. Reilly stood near the old pump truck. "It was a good truck, it's been in service the whole time I've been here. But it's time to move on," said Reilly. As the department's mechanic, it has been his job to keep it running.

Now the question lingers, what to do with a 32-year-old engine that was already in the "used" pile when Westport bought it from Trumbull? The answer could be: send it to Haiti.

It turns out, Bridgeport is participating in a program to send decommissioned old fire pumpers to Haiti. RTM member Matthew Mandell and Board of Finance Chair Helen Garten thought sending the engine there was a far superior option over condemning it to the scrap heap.

That possibility did raise a question though. RTM member Diane Cady wanted to know how the poor nation could fix a fire engine Westport couldn't. Reilly said he didn't talk at the meeting, but his thought is, they probably won't. They'll drive it until Engine 8's tires stop rolling.

Deputy Fire Chief Jon Gottfried estimated the engine is worth less than $8,000 but could be cannibalized for parts to keep the department's other 1978 pump truck running. Nothing is set in stone as to whether or not the truck can be sent to Haiti according to Gottfried. There are still too many factors to consider before a decision can be made. So for now, it sits under Reilly's care a little bit longer.

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