Firefighters in Croatia are set to get a brand new fire station and fire engine thanks to Notts Fire and Rescue and partners.
The service has teamed up with military charity Infrastructure Training and Assistance Projects (ITAP) and asset finance business Asset Advantage to provide the station and emergency vehicle in Sveti Durd, in Varazdin County.
Fire crews will now have the equipment and resources they need to continue fighting fires in the 50 small communities they serve in northern Croatia.
The area’s current fire engine is a 1980 RS Dennis fire engine which was donated after the Balkans War.
The ‘new’ replacement fire engine has been leased by Notts Fire and Rescue since 1998 and was one of the service’s wholetime engines before moving to a retained station and then into the reserve fleet.
When the lease agreement ended, Asset Advantage kindly agreed to donate the vehicle back to the service so that it can be taken to Croatia.
The fire engine will be driven to Croatia in April by watch managers Kevin Ruane, from Worksop, Grant Smith and Dave Evans and driver trainer Andy MacFarlane. They will make the journey in their own time.
The cost of getting the fire engine to Croatia is being met by military charity ITAP which is working with Sveti Durd fire service to rebuild their fire station.
In return for the charity’s generosity, the four fire service staff have agreed to help train 30 Gurkha soldiers in fire fighting skills, which they will pass on to rural communities in Nepal where they are establishing volunteer fire services.
Chief fire officer Frank Swann said: “Firefighters in the UK are extremely lucky to have the very best fire fighting equipment, vehicles and protective clothing to help us to do our job, but firefighters in some other countries not all that far away are dealing with fires and other emergencies with the most basic of equipment and training.”
“What started off as a relatively small project has snowballed as more and more people decided to get on board, and it is thanks to their generosity that we are able to help firefighters in so many communities.”
ITAP’s Captain Jonathan Slegg said: “The donation of a new appliance is critical, ensuring the Croatian firefighters can continue to strive towards the levels of excellence that have been internationally recognised in recent years.”
Jonathan Eddy, managing director of Asset Advantage, added: “We’re happy to play our small part in this marvellous project and applaud the people involved from the army and fire service for their generosity and foresight.”