12:30pm

Wed November 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse fire dept. donating used gear to city in Chile

More than 100 pieces of used firefighting clothing from the Syracuse fire department is going to South America to help protect a volunteer fire department down there.

The Rotary International Club in Syracuse helped coordinate the donation of 55 protective jackets and 84 protective pants to the city of La Serena, Chile, which says firefighters there often battle flames in street clothes.

"This donation is going to very, very helpful to them in that now, at least, they have some protective clothing," the Rotary's Rev. Blessed Sikhosana.

Going from regular clothing to protective suits is a huge improvement, said fire chief Paul Linnertz.

"If you’ve ever gone to the scene of a fire, if you get too close you feel the radiant heat from 100 feet away, 100 yards away sometimes," he said. "So by putting on this protective clothing that has thermal protection as well as flame protection, it’s going to improve their ability to fight fires drastically."

La Serena is a city of about 200,000 people.

The equipment being donated is 10 years old and the fire department is required to retire it. Linnertz said often their gear is still in usable condition after a decade.