Following the approval of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to recycle old fire engines by sending them to Serbia for a "new lease of life", Station Manager Steve Logan, the 'Serbia Crew' and his convoy of six appliances set off from Caerphilly castle to make the very important delivery.
The team set off on their 1500 mile trip from Caerphilly Castle on 19th October, they travelled through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary before finally reaching Serbia on 23rd October where Steve and the crew was warmly welcomed by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ivice Dacica.
Steve and his crew left the cargo of appliances with the extremely grateful Deputy Prime Minister Ivice Dacica and returned to Wales on Wednesday 26th October.
Steve Logan, Station Commander at Caerphilly Fire Station, was the driving force behind the project and said: "The fire engines that are due to be disposed of are at the end of their working life under British standards. But in developing countries like Serbia, what we consider end of working life, I think they consider is in their prime.
"Because we have this natural disposal programme, in my opinion, it's criminal to scrap these vehicles and not be able to give them a new lease of life."
Steve continues: "After 5 days, over 40 hours driving and 1499 miles the convoy arrived safely at Ruma Fire Station to the applause of family, friends and Serbian Firefighters. The trucks performed brilliantly and it is heartening to know that they will not only make a difference to the Serbian Fire Service, but to the communities that they serve.
"The drive across Europe is something that everyone associated with this Blazing to Serbia project and will remember for the rest of their lives."
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway said: "The decision to recycle unwanted appliances rather than scrap them comes as the service is just about to take charge of several new ones. The new models will replace ones which have been used at Fire Stations throughout South Wales for at least the past 15 years.
"Some older stock will be transferred to other Stations and some models will be put aside as 'stand-by' machines. But part of the old fleet can be sent to Serbia to help replace its outdated machines - some of which are converted 1950s Russian Army lorries."
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway continued: "This is an ethical way to use end of life appliances and equipment while supporting developing countries.
"Steve and his team of supporters have working tirelessly to raise the funds needed to transport these much needed appliances to Serbia. They have been faced with many obstacles along the way; however their passion, drive and enthusiasm for the successful completion of the project has meant the planned convoy of six appliances departed from Caerphilly Castle on Wednesday 19th October and successfully made their way to Serbia.
"I am sure I speak for everyone in the Service by congratulating them on a safe and successful journey."
During the epic journey the crew were followed by a crew from ITV Wales - the programme will be shown on ITV1, Week in Week out on Friday 11th November at 8pm.
Further information: www.southwales-fire.gov.uk
Posted November 10th, 2011 at 1835 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org