Help for Chile

It has emerged that fire engines donated by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue are being used to help in earthquake ravaged Chile.

A turntable ladder fire engine was given to Chile in 2004 and is now in service in Temuco, and arrangements have been made for two more fire engines to be sent to Chile soon.

These vehicles have been decommissioned from service in Gloucestershire and replaced.

Two 4x4 Rapid Intervention Vehicles are also in service in Peru, having been donated to Gloucestershire-based rescue team Rapid UK, along with a small rescue appliance.

Gloucestershire County Councillor Jeremy Hilton has been instrumental in arranging for the Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service equipment to be sent to Chile. His wife, Polly, a homecare worker with Gloucestershire County Council, is from Chile and has family still living in the country.

She has not been able to speak to her daughter, Karla, 29 in Concepcion – only a few miles from the epicentre of the earthquake - since it hit.

However, her other daughter Carolina who lives in Temuco , has been in touch with Karla and has confirmed she is safe.

Cllr Hilton went to see the turntable ladder in service in Temuco in December 2009. He also visited the fire stations at Dalcahue, on the island of Chiloe, and Pitrufquen, a rural community south of Temuco, where the two latest fire engines are headed.

He said: “The fire companies in Chile are basically voluntary organisations run very much like our lifeboat service on donations and Government grants. Surplus equipment from other countries helps make the money go further.  These engines are surplus to requirements here but will make a huge difference over there, especially in rural areas and fishing villages that tend to have the oldest equipment.