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Fire Department donates old equipment to Honduran city

The Bemidji Fire Department has given La Ceiba, Honduras, some much-needed Christmas presents.

Fire Chief Dick Sathers last week drove to Maple Grove, Minn., to deliver about 12 full sets of clothing, helmets and boots that will be delivered to La Ceiba to be used by local firefighters.

The donated Bemidji gear no longer meets the standards of the National Fire Protection Agency. Sathers said the gear was taken out of local service more than a year ago.

Once the gear is removed from service, it not only cannot be used by the local department, but it is rendered useless for other departments, he explained.

It had been sitting in the Fire Hall "gathering dust," Sathers said.

The opportunity for donation actually came from Deb Fisher, the community representative for North Memorial Aircare, Sathers explained. North Memorial had donated one ambulance and was planning to donate another in the near future.

Fisher said La Ceiba currently has no fire gear and firefighters respond to calls in their street clothes, Sathers said.

The Bemidji Fire Department soon decided to donate the old gear that was unsuitable for use, Sathers said.

He met Fisher in Maple Grove last Thursday. The gear is planned to be taken by semitrailer to La Ceiba, a port city on the northern coast of Honduras.

It is the second time that the Bemidji Fire Department has donated its fire gear to an underprivileged nation.