In 1951 eyes were turned to a more modern fire appliance to replace the Model A which had given good faithful service. This appliance died an early death when Frm. Moffat put it into reverse when attending a call up the drive of Porirua Hospital, thus ending the career of the first Porirua Appliance.
Approaches were made to the Makara County who was then the fire authority and funds were made available for the purchase of a 1935 Ford V8 which was owned by a Mr. Lala Bava, and used as a mobile fruit and vegetable store. This vehicle was promptly converted to an open cab fire engine and certainly looked the part. but it was never to be allowed to forget its previous role and was always referred to as the “Banana Wagon”, and far too often to the displeasure of the Porirua boys they were asked “What locker are the cabbages in?” when hose was required. To increase comfort, etc. the cab of the “Banana Wagon” was enclosed and doors fitted in early 1954.
In 1955 it was decided to acquire a more modern appliance and the unit took delivery of a brand new three ton Bedford cab and chassis. A fire engine body was built by members of the Brigade and it was duly commissioned and put into service. Such was the awareness of Alan Melville to the need of another appliance, that he mortgaged his own house to raise the money, much to the consternation of the local authority and Mrs. Melville.
This Bedford was destined for a rather torrid time and during her lifetime has had more than her share of grief. It was generally conceded that she was well overloaded but this was due to necessity rather than anything else. She was involved in two accidents, the first when she was being used by the competition team for training purposes and a truck had been parked further up the street with the handbrake incorrectly applied with the resultant run- away being arrested by the Bedford which suffered extensive damage to her right hand locker system.
It was in May 1965 that the second accident befell her. This time she was responding to what turned out to be a false alarm at Kodak’s while turning north out of Mungavin Ave. onto the motorway she suffered a brake failure and finished up on her roof straddling the safety fence leading down into the Railway yards. Some of the boys were injured in this mishap and were taken to hospital, but fortunately none were serious.
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