ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Ada firefighters are hitting the road to make a big difference in a small Texas town recently devastated by tragedy.
A fire department in Abbott, Texas, lost two of its 11 firefighters and its main fire engine in an April fertilizer plant explosion and blaze.
The Ada Township Fire Department is retiring its 20-year-old engine. But it's still in good shape, so instead of selling it, the department decided to donate it to the Abbott Fire Department.
"We have trucks that are 18 years old that are in great shape. This one's 20 years old. It's going to be wonderful," Ada Township Fire Department Lt. David Murray said.
Some of the firefighters left Wednesday morning to drive the truck to Texas and train the Abbott firefighters on how to use it.
The money for the trip was raised by selling T-shirts. Even the firefighters spearheading the effort didn't expect the outpouring of support they received not only from Ada, but also from around the world.
They started with just 50 shirts. But the effort took off, and they sold nearly 1,500 to people in 14 states and servicemen overseas in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
Other fire departments heard about the mission and came forward to buy T-shirts for their staff and donate money to the cause.
"So besides going in with this truck -- that's probably 20 years newer than what they did have -- they're also going to get a big check that's nearly what their annual budget is," Murray said.
And a West Michigan graphics company updated the graphics on the truck to read "Abbott Fire Department."
On their trip to Texas, the Ada firefighters will be hosted overnight by departments in St. Louis and Oklahoma City. Once they get to Abbott, there will be a dedication and blessing of the truck, a community event, and a Texas barbeque.
The firefighters will be documenting the journey on their Facebook page.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.