GLEN COVE, NY — It was a send off like no other with many bells and whistles for a machine that was revered as if almost human.
Ladder 5211 was more than a piece of fire apparatus to generations of Glen Cove firefighters, the truck was a trusted comrade, so when it was decommissioned two years ago, fate stepped in and it ended up not on the scrap heap, but bound for a new life across the Atlantic Ocean to — above all places — Dublin, Ireland.
The historic fire truck that was retired after 32 years of service was feted Wednesday in a grand ceremony with police escorts as it made its way to Newark, NJ, en-route to its new home with a charity that makes visits to sick children in hospitals.
“Today, we say goodbye to Ladder 5211, one of [a] few tiller trucks operating on Long Island,” a fire department spokesman write in a Facebook post prior to the truck’s departure. “Ladder 5211 has been more than a piece of fire apparatus, but a trusty comrade in service to the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department for over 32 years. The chiefs and members of the department could not be happier that her legacy will be preserved and she will be used for charitable purposes in Dublin, Ireland.”
“Ladder 5211 – always in our hearts,” the post ended.
The “trusty” fire truck, which helped bring multiple victims to safety in a dramatic rescue from a 1993 apartment complex fire and stood by after the 9/11 terror attacks, had multiple police escorts, including Nassau County police, the New York Police Department, and Port Authority Police, as its made its final U.S. run through various jurisdictions.
“It was awesome,” said City of Glen Cove Fire Chief Marvin Tate. “It could not have happened to a better truck.”
The ladder truck, which was driven by the first chief to ever get behind its wheel, ex-Chief Thomas Cross, had its full final run of the road with the department as it moved from Long Island into Queens, and then on to Manhattan and New Jersey with many onlookers. The Manhattan Bridge and Holland Tunnel were closed off as Cross drove on to the Port of Newark, leaving many of the firefighters in awe of the moment. Tate said it was a touching moment for Cross.
“It was amazing,” Tate said.
Essentially, it was like the walk-out ceremony that police departments hold for retiring members, but for a fire truck.
“I don’t think anything like that has ever happened for another fire truck before,” Tate said.
After a stop in Sweden with other cargo, Ladder 5211 will ship from Sweden to its new home in Dublin, according to Tate. The truck was reassessed for replacement and was put up for auction to the to the highest bidder, which happened to be Liam Moore, for $11,000, Glen Cove City spokeswoman Shannon Vulin said.
“The truck was long over due to be replaced,” he said, noting he was happy to see it leave the department and go on into its second life continuing to help the community.
Moore is a mechanic from Perrystown, Dublin who collects fire trucks for display at charity events, the Irish Echo reported in 2018. He has previously purchased American vintage cars and a fire truck from Lebanon, PA, just to tinker with and “go for the odd drive,” but he soon began displaying the truck at the suggestion of local firefighters and he has a soft spot for cancer charities because wife died from the disease.
Moore told the Echo that the trucks have a certain appeal to them.
“They are monsters — they’re massive and they have a lot of character,” he said.
The truck’s storied career with the Glen Cove City, was most notably, its involvement in rescuing the residents in 1993, the year Tate joined the department, he said.
“It was the crowning moment for the truck,” Tate said.
The truck also stood by after the 9/11 terror attacks at a staging area at Belmont Racetrack in Elmont.
Tate said that the truck is a credit to the people of the City of Glen Cove who paid for it over the years.
“It’s their truck, too,” he said.
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