With recent approval by the mayor and City Council, the city is donating a 21-year-old fire engine to a department hit hard by the storm.
Island Park is a small island in southern Nassau County between the mainland and Long Beach with a village of 4,800 residents. Another 5,000 live in the unincorporated area.
“The Island Park Fire Department is a small volunteer fire department that has one fire station, and they lost everything,” Roswell Fire Chief Ricky Spencer said. “I truly believe that our donation will make a tremendous impact on the ability of the Island Park VFD to restore emergency services to the citizens when it is needed the most.”
Anthony D’Esposito, an assistant chief with the Island Park department, said it was “great, great news” that an engine was being donated.
“The generosity is outstanding. It’s nice to be part of the fire service on a day like this. We definitely, definitely will make good use of it.”
The engine has around 100,000 miles on it but still has life in it, Spencer said.
“It was a reserve piece of equipment, meaning we would have put it into use if another one of ours was out of service,” he said. “It’s a good truck, and I’m grateful we can send it up there to get that group going again.”
The truck had been declared surplus and was being prepped for auction when Spencer received a plea for donated equipment from a national fund established after 9/11 to aid firefighters and departments in need.
Spencer said he contacted the Island Park department to determine if the request was legitimate.
“I spoke with a Chief Officer on the phone that was working the Emergency Operations Center for the areas affected and asked him many questions about the devastation to the area and especially the Island Park VFD,” the chief said.
The information in the request checked out, Spencer said. Wind and water destroyed Island Park’s single fire station and its one engine.
City Administrator Kay Love said she was excited that Roswell could help.
“We’ve sent people for disaster support before, but never a piece of equipment,” she said. “They are still so devastated up there, they are still working out of the Emergency Operations Center. Those people are just trying to figure out a way to deliver services.”
The city is also contributing a smoke-blowing power fan to Island Park. Roswell will ready the engine and fan for shipping, which will be handled and paid for by the national fund that sent out the call for donations.
“Once the fire engine arrives, all they will have to do is put on some fire hose, tools and equipment, fuel it up and they should be back in service,” Spencer said.