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Alberta trio successfully crosses U.S.-Mexico border with fire truck donation

Roger Poon (L), Brad Volovich and Chris Hardeman have successfully delivered a fire truck all the way from Edmonton to Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Roger Poon (L), Brad Volovich and Chris Hardeman have successfully delivered a fire truck all the way from Edmonton to Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Courtesy: Brad Volovich

After nearly a year of roadblocks and red tape, an Alberta trio that has been trying to donate a fire truck to an under-supplied station in Mexico has finally reached their destination.

Retired firefighter Chris Hardeman, along with friends Brad Volovich and Roger Poon, officially delivered the fire truck to Puerto Morelos on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. local time.

“We were actually surprised [at] the reception that we got because of it being so late,” said Hardeman on Saturday. “There was probably a good contingent here of 30 to 40 people. We thought there’d be three or four.

“We had a big, long, 17-hour day of driving yesterday to get here. So it was nice, everybody staying up to greet us.”

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“It was pretty special for [the locals] to stay up to greet us,” Poon said.

The journey has certainly been a long one. The group originally set off to deliver the truck in January but was stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border because they didn’t have the right paperwork.

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Second attempt at fire truck delivery
Second attempt at fire truck delivery

They stored the truck in the border town of Laredo and returned to Edmonton while they waited for the paperwork to clear.

READ MORE: Second attempt for Alberta trio trying to cross U.S.-Mexico to donate fire truck

“It’s taken quite a long time with a little break in between while it sat in Texas,” Volovich said. “We’re happy to finally get here last night. It was a great experience after all is said and done, even with the delays.

“The whole town is very happy to have the truck here.”

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The local fire chief and crews were on hand to greet the trio as they arrived. The truck will serve not only Puerto Morelos but also the neighbouring town of Leona Vicario.

“[Leona Vicario has] no fire service at all. It’s a well-needed piece of apparatus,” Hardeman said.

The truck was initially donated by the City of Edmonton. While Poon returned back to Edmonton Saturday, Hardeman and Volovich will remain in Puerto Morelos until Dec. 8 to help train the local crew to operate it.

Local fire crews will be trained on how to work with the truck.
Local fire crews will be trained on how to work with the truck. Facebook / Erin Alexander

“They’re all really excited to get at it, and certainly very, very thankful for what the three of us have done,” Hardeman said.

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There was one last hitch in the plan as the trio passed the border. The truck ran into an electrical issue, but after the group posted about the incident on Facebook, locals stepped up to help get it fixed quickly.

“The power of social media and the generosity out there is simply amazing,” Hardeman said.