A FIRE engine enthusiast was devastated when one of his treasured vehicles was badly damaged – by a blaze – following some restoration work.

Alan Greenwood’s historic Dennis appliance was being brought back to his home in Chobham when the low-loader lorry that was carrying it caught fire on a motorway.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard what had happened,” said Alan, who runs a funeral directors business based at Mimbridge. “The engine had just been brought into top condition and then it was almost destroyed by the fire.”

The incident was in the summer of 2017 and the good news for Alan is that it has been delivered back to Chobham after a specialist company restored it to its original condition.

The engine is a Dennis F2 made in 1948 for the British Thomson-Houston heavy engineering factory in Rugby. It is one of the last appliances manufactured in the Dennis factory at Guildford to a design where firemen stood on the outside, clinging to a rail, while on their way to an incident.

It has an eight-cylinder Rolls Royce engine and carries a wheeled “escape ladder” which can be extended to 60ft. Its pump can deliver 800 gallons a minute to the hoses.

Alan is delighted with the restoration work carried out by Fire Engine Services Ltd, of Whitchurch in Cheshire. The appliance was being returned from there when tyres on the low-loader caught fire on the M42 motorway three years ago.

“The skills of that company, which is dedicated to restoring fire engines for enthusiasts, are fantastic,” said Alan. “The bodywork and paintwork are faultless and the F2 is now like it was new.”

Alan’s collection includes several other historic Dennis fire engines, including appliances which served with Surrey Fire Brigade. His F24, a vehicle revered by firefighters of the 1960s and 70s, did several stints at Chobham Fire Station.

That vehicle and others have also been lovingly restored and cared for by Fire Engine Services Ltd, which was founded by Ron Bradley, former part-time firefighter with Cheshire Fire Brigade.

Alan’s Dennis turntable ladder engine is used for the funerals of former and serving fire service staff. He raises money for charities, particularly the Children With Special Needs Foundation, by giving rides in his appliances at fetes and the classic car shows he runs at Mimbridge.