Longport puts $14,000 military truck on its wish list

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Longport Volunteer Fire Department President Anthony Vicchiarelli and Chief Levon “Lefty” Clayton stand with the military vehicle the department wants to purchase Sunday, Dec. 16 outside the Longport Volunteer Firehouse. Longport Volunteer Fire Department President Anthony Vicchiarelli and Chief Levon “Lefty” Clayton stand with the military vehicle the department wants to purchase Sunday, Dec. 16 outside the Longport Volunteer Firehouse.

LONGPORT – Firefighters need to be ready to handle any situation, and after Hurricane Sandy the borough wants to be ready for the next one.

The Longport Volunteer Fire Department is asking for the public’s help to purchase a military vehicle capable of operating in deep water and snow.

The refurbished 5-ton military cargo truck costs $14,000, but firefighters know how useful it would be to have it in the fleet.   

Joe Stewart, who lives in the Seaview Harbor, just over the Longport bridge and has a similar vehicle, offered its services to the department before Hurricane Sandy, according to Mayor Nick Russo, who is also a firefighter.

“He told us before the event if we needed, to call him and that’s what we did,” Russo said.

Russo said borough volunteer firefighters loaded their gear on the back of the truck, and Stewart drove them to the scene.

“The only other way we could have gotten down there was by boat,” said department President Anthony Vicchiarelli.

Longport Fire Chief Levon “Lefty” Clayton said 10 people were rescued with the truck during the height of the storm Monday, Oct. 29. They were taken to the shelter of last resort at the Katz JCC in Margate.

“It was the only vehicle we had to get people to the shelters,” Russo said.

Stewart helped Longport officials locate a similar truck that was for sale.

“We think it’s a good idea. If we can raise the funds, we would like to purchase it,” Clayton said.

Vicchiarelli noted that the department provides mutual aid to Ocean City, the mainland communities and other municipalities, so those towns as well as the borough’s police department would benefit from the vehicle.

Russo said that with the borough surrounded by the ocean and bay on three sides, it needs a special vehicle that can operate in high water.

“I hope it never has to be utilized, but common sense and past experience tells us it will be utilized,” he said. “I’m asking the residents of the community if they have the means to support this project.”

Donations can be sent to the Longport Volunteer Fire Department, 2301 Atlantic Ave., Longport, NJ08403.

The vehicle was delivered to the department so residents and officials could inspect it. It has a flatbed cargo area with a camouflage canopy top that matches the paint on the truck.

Asked if he had a different paint scheme in mind if the department purchases it, Russo replied with a smile, “I think it would look good red.”


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