Providence fire department’s generosity returned with chief’s vehicle
PROVIDENCE A charity founded in memory of a New York City firefighter killed at the World Trade Center has come to the aid of one of Saratoga County’s most rural fire departments.
The Providence Volunteer Fire Department was given its first-ever chief’s first-response vehicle, a used Ford Crown Victoria donated by the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund.
The vehicle is for the chief’s use and for first response to a fire or accident, when the chief can arrive and assess the scene while crews are organizing to respond from the fire station.
“This buys me what I don’t have, which is time,” said Providence Fire Chief David Atwell.
The vehicle is owned and insured by the fire district, he said. He carries fire interruption technology like chemical bombs that a firefighter might not want to carry in their personal vehicle.
“It will save money. If I can get there first, I can say what kind of equipment is needed. We don’t have to respond with five vehicles,” Atwell explained during an interview at the Barkersville Road station.
The fire department in this rugged town of 2,000 people has developed an ongoing relationship with the Terry Farrell Fund, having gone through it in the past to donate its used equipment to other firefighters.
Farrell was a New York City firefighter and rescue officer who died in the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks. The fund was founded by his brother Brian in his honor.
The 2001 Crown Victoria four-door sedan was being sold by the fire department in Washington Township, N.J., and the fund was able to obtain the car and donate it to Providence.
The fund was set up to assist firefighters and their families with educational, medical and equipment needs — and part of what it does is facilitate equipment transfers between departments.
In 2009, Providence had a spare fire truck and was able to send it to another department, using the Terry Farrell Fund as an intermediary.
Atwell, who knew Farrell because Farrell was also chief of the Dix Hills Volunteer Fire Department on Long Island, contacted the fund about Providence’s need for a first-response vehicle, and the fund approved the request.
“The fund proudly donates this vehicle to your department, at no cost to the citizens of Providence, to be used for emergency response,” fund chairman Brian Farrell wrote in an April 21 letter.
Atwell said his department thanks both the fund and the Washington Township Fire Department for the donation.
The Providence Volunteer Fire Department, which has 27 active members, responds to about 70 calls per year.