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9/11 fire truck: From the Pentagon to Stephenville

Stephenville’s fire truck (foreground) was among the emergency vehicles that responded during the 9/11 attacks. – Courtesy of Marine Institute

By RENÉ J. Roy Editor-in-chief

STEPHENVILLE – Those who are old enough to remember the morning of September 11, 2001, know exactly where they were and what they were doing on that terrible day. And while we all remember the images of the Towers, the events of the day also included loss of life in Pennsylvania, and in Virginia.

United Airlines Flight 93 crash landed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all those on board, after passengers made a heroic attempt to subdue the hijackers.

American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked after leaving Dulles Airport, and was flown into the western facade of the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. local time.

The damage of a Boeing 757-223 aircraft striking the building at over 800 km/h was utterly devastating. A total of 189 people lost their lives instantly, including 125 within the Pentagon itself.

Fires raged from the impact, and emergency services and crews were dispatched from all over Washington D.C. and Virginia.

One of those trucks dispatched to assist was a 1999 pumper fire truck.

It is unknown what the vehicle was specifically tasked with during the Pentagon emergency, but soon after that fateful day it was purchased by a company in Québec called Techno Feu inc. Techno Feu is a company that purchases safety equipment and vehicles and refurbishes them for resale purposes. The company bought the pumper from the fire department in Virginia, repaired and refurbished it, and put it up for sale.

The Town of Stephenville saw the listing and purchased it, and Pumper Number 3 has been located here ever since.

Brian O’Quinn is the Manager of the Marine Institute in Stephenville. The Institute is a training facility for emergency service and response personnel, and currently has possession of the historic pumper.

“We have had it in a couple of events for 9/11 since then,” says O’Quinn. “The last one was the tenth anniversary (in 2011).”

O’Quinn isn’t sure if Pumper 3 will be in the upcoming commemoration being planned by the Town of Stephenville.

“I’m not quite sure if we had a request for it. That remains to be seen.”

The truck is really quite striking, with its white and orange colour scheme and looks to be in remarkable condition. It no longer serves in an emergency capacity and is used exclusively for training purposes by the Marine Institute.

That’s not to say it couldn’t serve again should the need arise.

“In the event that something did go seriously wrong in the town, and there just wasn’t enough response to take care of it, well then we would probably look at putting it into action. “

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