Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 23, 2014

Middleport, N.Y. and Pa. fire companies celebrate new relationship

By Michael Canfield michael.canfield@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Middleport Fire Company No. 1 owns a reserve fire truck that has not been used since the mid 1990s. When the company tried to sell it, a buyer was nowhere to be found. A new truck was purchased in June 2013, and since then, the old truck has been sitting outside the fire hall. 

At nearly 30 years old, the 1985 Spartan-Young engine is “a very, very old fire truck,” the fire company’s vice president, Darren Burdick, said.

The company’s options for disposing of the fire engine were limited to selling it to a private entity or, due to the shape it’s in, donating it. 

Enter Citizens Fire Company No. 1 from Middleport, Pa., a small borough with a population of roughly 400. The company is in need of equipment, and the small population makes it tough to fundraise, Assistant Fire Chief Todd Amos said. When Amos came across the website for the Middleport, N.Y., fire company a few months ago, he thought it would be “cool” to invite the New Yorkers down for a truck dedication ceremony in June, since the two companies come from places with the same name. 

Amos started talking to several firefighters from Middleport, N.Y., and when the reserve truck was mentioned, he jumped on the opportunity to bring it down to Pennsylvania.

On Saturday, about a month and a half after the first phone call was made, crews from Middleport, Pa., came to collect their “new” truck.

“It all happened on a whim,” Amos said. “Who would have ever thought that inviting them down would result in us getting a truck?”

The contingent from Pennsylvania left early Saturday morning to make the 5 1/2 hour drive to Middleport. After an open house at the fire hall, the New York volunteers planned to spend the afternoon training the Pennsylvania crew in the truck’s use, then treating their guests to some Lockport area nightlife.

Since fire officers in the two Middleports started talking in February, their companies have become “sister companies,” Amos said. 

“We’re going to support each other’s events,” he said. 

The donated Spartan/Young fire engine is in rough shape, but it can be fixed up, according to Burdick. 

“They’ll have to put some money into it to make sure it’s reliable,” he said. 

Volunteers in Middleport, N.Y., are pleased to think of the truck being put into use again. Burdick says it’s gratifying knowing how much it will help the Citizens Fire Company. 

“For them, it’s the best thing that could happen,” he said. 

The truck that’s currently used by the Pennsylvania fire company has electrical problems and a leak in the tank, according to Amos. The ‘85 Spartan-Young is “a better truck with a better tank,” he said. 

In June, firefighters from MFC-1 will travel to Middleport, Pa. to participate in a truck dedication ceremony and parade. 

“We have a lot planned for them for the whole weekend,” Amos said.

Contact reporter Michael Canfield at 439-9222, ext. 6246, or follow him on Twitter @MikeCanfield36.