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The donated fire engine. The donated fire engine.

Donated fire truck kept at chief’s home

Oaxaca officials to investigate 'hidden' vehicle, donated by city of Palo Alto, California

A fire engine donated by the authorities of Palo Alto, California, to their counterparts in Oaxaca city is parked and “hidden” in the state fire chief’s vacation home, a local non-governmental organization has accused.

The report is based on video footage shot by the NGO Citizen’s Eye for Democracy and against Corruption (Ojo Ciudadano por la Democracia y en Contra de la Corrupción) outside the vacation home of Manuel Alberto Maza Sánchez, the head of the state fire department.

The unmistakable bright red color of the fire truck can be seen in the recording, half covered by a tarp.

If the fire engine needed mechanical repairs, it should be in a repair shop or an official facility, reckoned the citizens’ group in an online post.

While no formal complaint has been filed in the case, the Oaxaca Secretariat of Government Accountability and Transparency has announced it will investigate.

Secretary José Ángel Díaz Navarro said that Maza will be summoned to explain why the vehicle is being kept in his vacation home and not in an official facility.

The 1974 fire engine is valued at one million pesos (US $54,000) and is equipped with a 10,000-liter tank. At the time of the donation, the vehicle was reported to be in good operation conditions.

For many years the city of Palo Alto has donated several emergency vehicles to its sister city of Oaxaca. The first donation was a Crown pumper truck and a Braun ambulance, together valued at $10,000, made in 2001.

Another donation — a Pierce model fire truck — is currently being readied for delivery, according to information on the Facebook page of Neighbors Abroad, a non-profit organization in Palo Alto that has been involved in most of the Oaxaca donations.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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