Fire engine tied to La., N.Y. returns home


BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - The "Spirit of Louisiana" fire truck is returning home, as it was dispatched this afternoon by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office to Long Island, N.Y. to support public safety efforts there in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The "Spirit of Louisiana" has a long history of helping out in times of need. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Official Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) needed to replace its fire equipment, and Louisiana citizens stepped in to fund the project. The first fire engine that was commissioned was dubbed the "Spirit of Louisiana." It was built to City of New York specifications and was delivered in December 2001.

After arriving in New York, the "Spirit of Louisiana" was used for years in firefighting efforts. Then, after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the FDNY dispatched 300 firefighters to assist Louisiana in its recovery and response efforts. The "Spirit of Louisiana" was also loaned to the City of New Orleans, which had lost many fire engines in the storm. The "Spirit of Louisiana" served New Orleans until it was decommissioned in 2010.

Since then, Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and Chris Ferrara, President of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, worked with the New Orleans Fire Department Fire Chief Charles Parent to have the truck completely refurbished and transferred to the State Fire Marshal's Office to be preserved and ready for future disasters.

The State of Louisiana recently received a request for support from the State of New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The request was for emergency assistance to the City of Long Beach Fire Department due to damage to the department's fire apparatus. The "Spirit of Louisiana" is now on its way to Long Island, N.Y. to assist in fire emergencies.

"We are proud to be of help to our friends in New York, as we have built such a family since 9/11. This fire truck was and continues to be our hands on the healing process," said Fire Marshal Browning.