Vintage US fire trucks fuel Liam’s engine passion and help charities

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A MECHANIC’S passion for working on engines led him to purchase two vintage fire engines from the US, which he bought using money his father had left for him when he passed away.

The fire trucks are now regularly marvelled at by adults and children alike at charity events.

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Grandfather Liam Moore (64) has always been passionate about vehicles, having previously channelled his passion into collecting motorbikes and fixing up Land Rovers, but in 2014, shortly after his father Jackie Moore passed away, Liam decided to purchase an American fire engine online.

The first engine, a 1967 Mack pumper, came from Torrington, a town in Connecticut, and then Liam had to deal with the logistics of moving a fire engine from Pennsylvania to New York, where it was brought on a cargo ship to England before arriving at his Perrystown home.

Liam told The Echo: “I was bored and I was looking for something to do. I had cars and a few motorbikes, but I wanted something different.

“The first fire truck was up for auction, so I had 20 minutes to decide if I was going to buy it.

“Buying it was the easy part, shipping it was the problem – if we knew the cost of shipping we probably wouldn’t have bought it.”

Substantial fees for shipping

Liam sought advice from an acquaintance in Offaly who regularly got vintage American cars shipped over from the US, and several weeks after the purchase of the fire engine, and having incurred substantial fees for shipping, Liam’s new fire truck was on Irish soil.

Not one to be deterred, Liam then went on to purchase a second fire truck, a 1970 Hahn pumper, from a Pennsylvanian town called Lebanon, in 2016 and took two feet off the side of his house in order to be able to store the two trucks.

“Originally they were just for me to play with,” Liam said, “to go for the odd drive.”

Two firefighters, one from Nutgrove Fire Station and one from Tallaght Fire Station, reached out to Liam and asked him if he’d be interested in displaying his vintage fire trucks at charity events, which he gladly started doing, with cancer charities being of particular resonance for him.

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Liam’s wife, Helen, died of cancer seven years ago at age 55, and the experienced mechanic said that Helen “would’ve been delighted” to see him at charity events with the fire engines.

It also gives Liam the opportunity to share the fire trucks with the community, and to share his passion with others.

Speaking about the appeal of American fire engines, Liam said: “They are monsters – they’re massive and they have a lot of character.

“Fire trucks are lovely, but the equipment inside is even nicer.”

Require regular maintenance

Liam told The Echo that the fire trucks require regular maintenance, and himself and his two sons, who are also mechanics, make the parts to go in the truck as some of the parts are no longer available to purchase.

Despite the sky-high shipping costs, which run into thousands of euro, Liam is still hoping to add a third American fire truck to his collection – a 100-foot-ladder fire truck.

In the meantime, he still takes great enjoyment working on the trucks with his sons and bringing them to charity events, where they also attract attention from firefighters from Dublin Fire Brigade who are curious to see the equipment American counterparts use.

As for spending the money that his father left for him on the fire engines, Liam said: “My father loved travelling, but money disappears quickly when you’re travelling.

“That’s why we decided to buy these fire trucks – they’re like cars, they’ll be here after I’m gone.”

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