Hard-hit Island Park FD gets donated pumper truck

Members of the Atlantic Beach Rescue Dept. pick Members of the Atlantic Beach Rescue Dept. pick up a stranded pedestrian in Island Park. (Oct. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

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The Island Park Fire Department lost $1 million in equipment to superstorm Sandy, which inundated its firehouse with seven feet of water.

Wednesday, the department welcomed a much-needed addition to its shrunken fleet -- a 1991 pumper truck that had just made a 900-mile trip from Georgia.

The pumper was donated by the Roswell Fire Department in Alpharetta, Ga., and was presented to the 100-member Island Park force Wednesday at noon.

"It gives us peace of mind that we are able to protect our community," Island Park First Assistant Chief Anthony D'Esposito said. "We cannot turn to other departments nearby because they have also lost equipment."

Island Park lost the pumper, an ambulance, two chiefs' vehicles, a high-axle vehicle, a utility pickup truck and lifesaving gear. The department was left with a hook and ladder, an engine truck and two chiefs' cars.

Floodwaters also destroyed computers, electrical panels, furniture, bathrooms and a hot water heater.

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"We thought, 'What a great gift it would be donate that fire truck,' " Roswell Fire Chief Ricky Spencer said of the pumper. "We're very excited to know that it made it up there."

Island Park also received an ambulance from the Great Falls, Va., department, as well as fire gear and generators from as far away as Texas and California.

"Without them we couldn't have done it," said D'Esposito. He added that the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund helped obtain equipment.

Fund founder Brian Farrell said he has traveled around the country looking for trucks and gear for departments on Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens."There were so many fire departments wiped out," he said. "We never have seen anything like this."

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