Oaxaca fire official Maza at a fundraising campaign in Palo Alto. Oaxaca fire official Maza at a fundraising campaign in Palo Alto.

‘Hidden’ fire truck not Palo Alto donation

US organization rejects accusation against Oaxaca fire official

An organization that has donated several emergency vehicles to the Oaxaca city fire department has rejected an accusation that a state fire official has hidden a fire truck at his vacation home.

Bob Wenzlau of Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto, California, said a fire truck that appeared in video footage shot by an anti-corruption organization was not one of those donated.

In fact, he said, the 1988 Seagrave pumper pictured had been purchased by state fire chief Manuel Alberto Maza Sánchez from the city of Torrance, California, on behalf of another city in Oaxaca. But that city decided not to buy it after all so Maza was storing the vehicle and trying to sell it, Wenzlau explained.

“This is basically a ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”

He said vehicles donated by Neighbors Abroad and the city of Palo Alto have seen “incredible use.”

Wenzlau lamented that firefighters “are not honored in Mexico, and they really do incredible work.”

“I do happen to believe in Chief Maza, and watched him run into buildings on fire as a true hero.”

The video of the “hidden” truck in Oaxaca was shot by the Citizens’ Eye for Democracy and Against Corruption, and triggered the opening of an investigation by the state government.

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