Updated: January 7, 2013 7:15AM
A firetruck donated by the Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District will go a long way toward helping one hard-hit New Jersey community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The hurricane caused massive destruction last month along the East Coast, destroying homes, businesses and critical infrastructure.
The firetruck has been sent to Union Beach, N.J., on a freight train through a cooperative effort between the fire protection district, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and CSX Transportation.
Shortly after the storm struck the East Coast, Rutland-Dundee FPD Fire Chief Richard Thomas contacted State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis, saying his department had a fire truck it could donate.
Thomas knew the fire department in Union Beach had suffered extensive damage from the storm and needed the truck, but didn’t know how to get it to New Jersey.
Matkaitis contacted IEMA Director Jonathon Monken, whose agency has established public-private partnerships with several businesses. Monken contacted CSX, which made arrangements to deliver the firetruck to New Jersey at no charge.
The 1984 Pierce Dash Pumper was loaded onto a CSX railcar Monday and was expected to arrive in New Jersey within a week.
“This is what fire departments in Illinois do, we help our neighbors in need,” Thomas said.
“This is a great example of pulling together to help our fellow firefighters and our fellow Americans in their time of need,” said Matkaitis.
“Gov. Quinn asked us to take every reasonable measure to help the citizens impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said Monken. “We appreciate the tremendous effort by CSX to ensure this firetruck gets to Union Beach as soon as possible.”
“CSX is proud to support efforts of first responders to assist their colleagues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” said Tom Livingston, CSX Midwest regional vice president government affairs. The fire truck isn’t the first hurricane assistance from Illinois to New Jersey. In mid-November, Quinn deployed 29 Illinois State Police officers and 25 local law enforcement officers to help Union Beach and other New Jersey communities with public safety. Twenty-two other Illinois first responders were deployed to New York City and Long Island to assist with hurricane response and recovery.