Liam Moore's Fire Truck“I was looking for something to do and keep me occupied, so I said I’d buy a fire truck.”

As heard on The Ray D'Arcy Show

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Liam Moore is, according to Ray D’Arcy, a big kid. And when you look at the image of Ladder 5211, the Seagrave Tiller fire truck sitting outside the IFSC in Dublin, you get an idea of just how big a kid he is. Liam bought the fire truck in an auction last December and it’s taken this long to get it to Ireland. He described it for Ray: 

“It’s about 58 feet long, it’s only about 8 feet wide, it’s 11 feet high at its highest point. It’s a Seagrave. They call them a Hook and Ladder. It’s 1987 and it has a 100-foot ladder on it and will move, I think it is, 1200 gallons a minute through the pipes. 

It’s fair to say that Liam is not a metric kind of guy – or maybe it’s just the fact that the truck came from the US means that all its specs are in feet and gallons. In any event, the truck has a twin cab, meaning it can carry four firefighters in the back and four in the front. “It’s a real head-turner,” Ray says and wonders if there’s anything else like it in Ireland, or even the rest of Europe. Liam doesn’t think so: 

“Now, they have trucks with a hundred-foot height, but nothing like a Tiller, no.” 

Liam describes his fire trucks – yes, the Tiller is not his first – as monsters, but monsters with loads of character and that’s why he loves them: 

“You look at the face of them and just look at them. They all have their own character. And you buy them with the character. So, you look till you find the one that gets you in the face and that’s the one you try to get.” 

The Tiller – Ladder 5211 – served with Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department in Nassau County, New York for 22 years and it was given quite the send-off when it was driven to the port for transport to Ireland. They brought the 83-year-old firefighter who first drove the Tiller out of retirement to drive it on its last journey in the US. And Fire Departments along the route paid their respects as well: 

“All the lads then in all the fire stations along the way – or Fire Departments over there – all stood outside their departments saluting the truck going by.” 

Although not directly involved in the 9/11 rescue efforts in 2001, Ladder 5211 was on standby and Liam plans to use the truck as part of the 20th anniversary commemorations. He’s hoping that, pandemic restrictions permitting, the tiller will be part of Dublin Fire Brigade’s 9/11 commemoration. We will, no doubt, hear more on that between now and September. But the burning question of why fire trucks was finally answered near the end of the chat: 

“I started off coming to retirement. It wasn’t too long after my wife died. I was looking for something to do and keep me occupied, so I said I’d buy a fire truck.” 

Is this an appropriate place to use the phrase “as you do”? It very well might be. Ray concluded the conversation by inviting himself onto Ladder 5211 to broadcast his show when restrictions allow, so we haven’t heard the last of Liam Moore’s fire truck. You can hear the full chat between Ray and Liam by going here. And you can watch Glen Cove Fire Department’s send-off for Ladder 5211 here (Facebook link). 

Niall Ó Sioradáin 

© The Listener 2021

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