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Retired GCVFD fire truck sent with fanfare to Ireland

Seagrave Tiller to be used at charity events

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The departure of Ladder 5211, of the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department’s Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1, was no ordinary event. The retired fire truck received a celebratory sendoff last week as it left the firehouse for its new venture in Ireland. The Seagrave Tiller, which served Glen Cove for 32 years, is now en route to Dublin, where it will spend its retirement involved in charitable work.

“This truck has not only served the department well, it has served the city well,” Mayor Tim Tenke said prior to the truck’s departure from the firehouse on March 24. “This truck owes us nothing. In all the years we’ve had it, it’s done its job, and it’s time for its retirement.”

Tenke described a 1993 fire the Tiller responded to at an apartment building at 167 Glen Cove Ave. “This truck was instrumental in rescuing people out of a burning building,” the mayor said. “Without this truck being there, some of those people may have lost their lives.”

Among the attendees at the ceremony last Wednesday were city, county and state officials as well as members of the Fire Department, who praised the old fire truck before it was escorted by Nassau County police and the New York City Fireriders Motorcycle Club out of the city and made its way through Manhattan to Port Elizabeth, N.J.

Tenke explained that the intent was to avoid having city-owned equipment go to waste. “We’re happy to see it auctioned off, as opposed to sending it to a scrap yard,” he said.

The Seagrave Tiller was sold by Auctions International last November, and was purchased by Liam Moore, a private collector in Dublin, for $11,000. Moore, a mechanic, has several other American fire engines that he displays at charity events, and he intends to use the truck in a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“This truck deserves what it will be getting,” Tenke said. “It’s going to be getting pampered, it’s going to get shined up, it’s going to events, and it’s going to enjoy its retirement.”

County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton noted that the truck was deployed in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. “This incredible truck was one of those that went to 9/11,” DeRiggi-Whitton said, “and it’s going to be the largest fire rescue truck in the entire European Union. I think it’s pretty impressive that it’s coming from Glen Cove.”

GCVFD Ex-Chief Tommy Cross had the distinction of being the first to drive the truck into Glen Cove in 1987, and was the last to drive it out on March 24. Cross retired from the department in 2005, after 33 years as a volunteer firefighter, and was emotional before he drove the truck away.

“We firefighters get attached to our equipment,” Chief Marvin Tate Sr. explained. “This truck has served this community for over 32 years, and it’s done a very good job for this city and the residents. It’s exciting, but somewhat sad as well.”

The Tiller was replaced by a newer model, a Seagrave Attacker, purchased by the city in 2018 for approximately $1.29 million. “We wanted a truck that would duplicate the efforts of the Seagrave Tiller, so we stuck with Seagrave,” Tate said. “Their newer model, 32 years later, has a larger cab and built-in safety features. It will be more comfortable for the volunteers when responding to a call.”

Tate said that until last Wednesday, he had not realized the truck would have such a huge sendoff: Multiple jurisdictions were involved, it received a police escort out of Glen Cove and, along the way, the Long Island Expressway, the Manhattan Bridge, Canal Street and the Holland Tunnel were closed to traffic to allow the truck’s safe passage.

“It couldn’t have happened on a better day or a better time,” Tate said, “and once we got to the dock, the rain came.”

He added that Glen Cove residents should know their money was well spent on the Tiller, and should be proud that it will still be doing charitable work.

Before it left Glen Cove for the final time, Ladder 5211 was decorated with a decal across the top of the windshield honoring the memory of New York City Fire Department hero Terry Farrell, of Dix Hills, one of the 343 city firefighters who perished on Sept. 11.

“The story of Glen Cove F.D.’s Ladder 5211 embodies the spirit of selfless, courageous service that makes volunteer firefighters shining stars in Nassau County and across Long Island,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I am delighted that after more than three decades of faithful service to the residents of Glen Cove, Ladder 5211 will continue to make an impact in Ireland through a new philanthropic mission.”