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Firetruck gets new lease of life

Bill Laughlan of Classic Flyers and Aviation Fire Crew member Kyle Meyers. Photo: John Borren.

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is quite the overused adage. But when it comes to highlighting the progression of firetrucks over the past 80 years, on this occasion it truly fits.

The little red engine in the picture above is ‘Flick’, just like the one from the iconic children’s story.

Standing next to Flick is the airport fire engine of today with all its gizmos and gadgets with an impressive price tag north of $1 million.

Flick is from the 1940s but has been lovingly refurbished by Classic Flyers at Tauranga Airport.

“The vehicle was donated to Tauranga museum in the Historic Village in 1978 by a Mr P Fortzer,” says Cory Tyler, sales and marketing manager for Classic Flyers.

“When it shut down in the late 90s, the council took ownership of the engine and the Tauranga Charitable Trust eventually took it in their hands.”

After a period rusting away in an old fire station, Flick was eventually restored and now Tauranga Flyers Trust have a permanent loan of the vehicle.

Of course, as a functioning firetruck, Flick no longer fits the bill.

The high-tech Rosenbauer Panther S it sits opposite could probably strip the paint away with its high-powered cannons.

Think of the Austrian-made new machine, which the Aviation Rescue Fire Crew at Tauranga Airport obtained in 2019, as the Arnold Schwarzenegger to Flick’s Danny DeVito.

But whilst Flick might now pale in significance to the megatech new engines charged with keeping the Bay of Plenty safe, its charm and pluck still give it purpose in life.

The little red engine now functions as a fun activity for kids in Tauranga.

“It gets used for our kids’ parties,” says Cory. “We use it for field trips and school visits.

“Since we have owned it in 2010, we have taken about 15,000 kids on it for joy rides around the airport.”

So whilst Flick might not be putting out any fires anytime soon, the endearing octogenarian might just put a smile on someone’s face.

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