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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  • WestCoastHwy

    It’s good to be the Chief!……or should I say, “a Thief.” when your a Mexican.

  • Bob Wenzlau

    I am President of Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto. This is SeaGrave vehicle in the photo, a brand the City has never donated – we use another brand (Pierce and Crown). As such there is no connection to Palo Alto. I do honor the Fire Chief of Oaxaca, and the service he and the bomberos have done for Oaxaca. They supported through fire, earthquake and flood. I am saddened that the article choose to do anything but honor the work of the Chief and the bomberos. I have informed the paper, but they seemed to rely on others for this story.

    • WestCoastHwy

      My understanding is that most connections between Mexican Officials and Private USA non-profits are fronts to smuggle narcotics to the USA. Oliver North was the king of culvert action and he was blatantly using USA resources while smuggling 100s of billions of dollars worth of narcotics into the streets of the USA. So Bob Wenzlau, why would you even be sticking your neck out for a Mexican when it wouldn’t seem to be a benefit for you? Or are you distancing yourself?

  • DreadFool

    a new job category, Fire Thief, ideal for any liar with their pants on _____.

  • mexbungalows

    The accusations I read here are pure horsecrap. As a certified KKK-1822-AA technician I am authorized to repair and upgrade Star of Life emergency vehicles which I donate time and materials to do so here in Mexico. MY time MY materials. The bomberos are eternally grateful for donated equipment and vehicles. Whether or not this fire chief was concealing a donated piece of equipment is an eyebrow raiser. Usually the discourse between donor and recipient is so well known publicly that an entire municipio is aware of the impending donation, Sometimes vehicles need repairs. They need to stay under lock and key so they do not grow lighter by the day. Isn’t it a freakin’ miracle that people thousands of miles distant are experts about events down here. I bet they tell their neighbors when there are too many leaves on their lawn. Phooey.