Fire Pumper Hijacked
Grumman Emergency Products recently delivered four pumpers manufactured in its Oren plant in Roanoke, Va., to Manta, Ecuador. The vehicles were consigned to Grumman’s dealer, Orienco, S. A. One of the pumpers had been ordered for the Quito Fire Department.
The main highway from Manta to Quito passes close to a third town, Chowne, a near-jungle community. The Ministry of Labor and Social Services had for years promised Chowne’s Fire Department new pumper equipment that had never come. Chowne fire fighters had experienced several severe fires that they were unable to handle with their old equipment.
The Chowne Fire Department, learning of the delivery of the new pumper to Quito, waited on the main road. When it appeared, they detoured it. to their own station, removed the wheels so it could not be moved, held the Orienco delivery man -Marco Polo by name—captive for a few days, and painted their own name on the side of the new pumper. Drawn machetes have been claimed by the Grumman/Oren service man who ultimately had to go fetch the vehicle, but that factor has yet to be verified.
The result of the whole thing is that the pumper scheduled for Quito was liberated from the Chowne group. Another pumper, part of the original order for four, finally got to Chowne, and peace once again reigns.