Palm Coast - The Palm Coast Fire Department continues to save lives across state lines.
Thanks to former Fire Chief Howard Peiffer's efforts, a 1984 Mack fire truck recently retired by the City of Palm Coast has found a new home with the all-volunteer Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department in Harlan, Kentucky. It was the second time that Peiffer helped save a fire engine from going to a scrap yard. In 2015, the City donated a 1986 Mack Fire Truck to the Lower Clover Fork Fire Department in neighboring Evarts, Kentucky.
Fire Engine 242, which was transported to Kentucky earlier this month, has been used for fire rescue operations in three states for over three decades. The truck started its fire-pumping career with the New Hyde Park Fire Department on Long Island, New York. In 2004, a then-newly formed City of Palm Coast Fire Department purchased three Mack fire trucks for $55,000 in order to have backup apparatus. Backup fire engines are used when frontline apparatus are down for repair, for volunteer firefighter staffing and during large-scale emergencies such as wildfires and hurricanes.
"For the last decade, these fire trucks served our department's needs to ensure that the residents of our City had uninterrupted fire protection," said Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle.
In 2015, the City began the process of retiring the trucks from service. "The engines no longer met our department's needs," Chief Beadle said. "After not finding interest through surplus sales, we were approached about donating it."
Through his connections with the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, former Chief Peiffer found two underserved fire districts in rural Kentucky that needed fire apparatus. The Palm Coast City Council approved the donations.
"This truck will protect lives and homes in our district," Sunshine Fire Chief Steven Hatfield said. "It is very much needed by our department to service our citizens."
The 32-member Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department serves 1,693 people in the communities of Sunshine, Catrons Creek, Grays Knob, Baxter, Keith, Kitts, Eastbrook, Chevrolet and Lenarue. Located in the midst of the Appalachian coalfields in southeastern Kentucky, the community is known for its coal history.
Former Chief Peiffer paid for the transportation cost of the fire engines from Palm Coast to Kentucky. He also volunteered to travel to Kentucky, at his own expense, to train the Sunshine firefighters on how to use their new fire truck. Peiffer is now Associate Coordinator for the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue Inc.