TWO Dundalk firemen have returned from a successful roadtrip across Africa after delivering a fire engine to native firefighters as part of an innovative charity mission.
Michael Dawe from Hackballscross and Brendan McCoy drove 1,400km for three days through West Africa with two other fireman to deliver the Irish fire engine and firefighting equipment.
Michael and Brendan were accompanied by Darren Geary, Monaghan Fire Station and James Kinahan, an engineer based in Dublin. The men departed on Saturday, February 5 and flew into Benin.
“The drive was tough going. We had early starts and late evenings but it was a really rewarding experience. We met some officials at the border of Niger where we handed over the vehicle at a ceremony.
“It was like they had gotten a new toy on Christmas morning. They couldn’t believe it pumped water. Most villages are lucky to have water.”
He added: “If a house, which is basically like a mud shack, goes on fire, they tend to knock the buildings next to it to try and prevent the fire from spreading. They have next to no equipment. The trip was a real eye-opener. When you see what they have over there you realise that there is no recession back here in Ireland. ”
The men carried out the trip with the support of Irish charity, Plan Ireland. They thanked Northern Ireland Fire Service, John Lavery Motor Factors, Cullen Auto Parts, Eamon Arthur and Dundalk Radio Service for their help.