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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Friday, 2 November 2007, 07:59 GMT
Patagonian fire team's help plea


A fire crew in a Patagonian town struggling with ageing equipment have asked for help from their counterparts 8,000 miles away in north Wales.

One fire engine used to serve some 6,000 people by the team in the Welsh settlement of Gaiman in the Argentine region is almost 60 years old.

Tatiana Rogers, secretary of the Gaiman Fire Service has made the appeal while learning Welsh at Bangor, Gwynedd.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are examining whether they can help.

Ms Rogers, 29, said firefighters in her home town were dedicated, but in desperate need of more modern equipment.

I just want a bit of help, we can't offer anything more in return other than our friendship
Tatiana Rogers

"The fire crew in my town is very, very poor. It is very difficult for them, and the people there can't give them too much money," she explained.

"The equipment they have makes it very hard for them."

The town is served by two fire engines. However, one was built in 1949, and the second has been in service since the early 1970s.

The fire crew are mostly volunteers, with only three members of the team receiving any wages.

Gaiman was one of the first towns built by Welsh settlers who travelled to the region in search of a new life at the end of the 19th Century.

It retains a distinctive Welsh identity, with chapels and cafes offering traditional Welsh teas scattered across the town.

The plight of the firefighters is also being championed by Ms Rogers's partner, north Wales photographer Ed Gold, who met her while spending a year in Patagonia documenting Welsh life in the region.

"These are brave and honourable people, and they need help," said Mr Gold.

"This is a country with roughly half the population of the UK, but twice as many road deaths.

"Something like more modern cutting equipment could make a difference and help save more lives."

Mr Gold said they were not appealing for brand new equipment, but instead surplus items that were being replaced.

"Whatever could be offered would be much newer than the tools and equipment the Gaiman team has at the moment," added Mr Gold.

The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: "It is a case of assessing whether we can offer anything to help, and how feasible that would be, so we are considering it at the moment".