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OXNARD : Mexican City to Get Aging Fire Engine

After 18 years of service in Oxnard, fire engine 1626 will spend its twilight years fighting fires in Mexico.

The Oxnard Fire Department plans to donate the 1977 Van Pelt engine to Ocotlan, Oxnard’s sister city near Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. Battalion Chief Terry McAnally said the aging engine costs too much to maintain and no longer meets U.S. safety standards.

Considered the Cadillac of fire engines nearly two decades ago, the 30,000-pound truck is now worth about $500. The department took engine 1626 out of commission two months ago--three years past its recommended service life.

“To us, it is worth zero,” McAnally said. “To Ocotlan, it is worth its weight in gold.”

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Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez said the city donated a fire engine to Ocotlan in 1967. According to Lopez, that truck--the only one the city has--is still in use.

Lopez, who visited Ocotlan when Oxnard established sister-city ties in 1964, said Ocotlan fire officials will have no trouble keeping the engine in use. According to McAnally, safety standards are less stringent in Mexico.

Ocotlan officials are to arrive in Oxnard today for a weeklong visit. The Oxnard City Council is expected to approve the donation at its next meeting set for Tuesday.

Officials plan to haul the engine to Mexico by truck within two weeks.

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“I think [the second engine] would really serve a cause of humanity and generate a lot of good will,” Lopez said.


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