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Poon, Volovich and Hardeman with Puerto Morelos' new fire truck. Poon, Volovich and Hardeman with Puerto Morelos' new fire truck.

Donated fire truck arrives in Puerto Morelos from Canada

Its delivery was delayed by an 11-month bureaucratic delay

A donated fire truck arrived in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, from Edmonton, Alberta, on the weekend after a lengthy bureaucratic delay.

Retired firefighter Chris Hardeman and his friends Roger Poon and Brad Volovich arrived at their destination on Saturday after driving the truck from Texas, where it had been held up by nearly a year by bureaucratic red tape.

They arrived late in Puerto Morelos, but there was a reception party nonetheless.

“We were actually surprised [at] the reception that we got because of it being so late,” said Hardeman after their arrival. “There was probably a good contingent here of 30 to 40 people. We thought there’d be three or four.”

“We had a big, long, 17-hour day of driving yesterday to get here. So it was nice, everybody staying up to greet us.”

The three intended to deliver the fire truck in January but were stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas for not having the proper paperwork.

They left the truck parked in Laredo and returned to Edmonton to wait out the administrative process.

“It’s taken quite a long time with a little break in between while it sat in Texas,” said Volovich. “We’re happy to finally get here last night. It was a great experience after all is said and done, even with the delays.”

The Puerto Morelos fire chief and firefighters were among those who waited up to greet the Canadians.

Donated by the city of Edmonton, the CAD $35,000 truck will serve Puerto Morelos as well as the neighboring town of Leona Vicario, which has no fire service at all, Hardeman said.

Hardeman, Volovich and Poon started a GoFundMe page in January 2018 to collect donations to acquire fire equipment for Puerto Morelos and as of Monday it was just over CAD $2,000 short of its $18,000 goal.

Poon had to return to Canada just after arriving, but Hardeman and Volovich will stay in Puerto Morelos until December 8 to train the local crew to operate the truck.

“They’re all really excited to get at it, and certainly very, very thankful for what the three of us have done,” said Hardeman.

After finally getting south of the border, the trio had to deal with another setback when the truck had an electrical problem. However, people stepped up to help out, and they were able to get the problem fixed easily.

“The power of social media and the generosity out there is simply amazing,” Hardeman said.

This is not the only example of retired firefighters from north of the border helping underequipped areas of Mexico. The tragic death of a woman in a house fire La Ribera, Baja California Sur, in August prompted a former fire chief to found a volunteer fire department.

Source: Global News (sp)

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