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Posted: June 13, 2017

Newlyweds hitch ride to reception with firefighters after wedding bus fire

Justin Stone and Maria Leonardi, of New York City, hitched a ride to their wedding reception with Avon, Connecticut, firefighters Saturday, June 10, 2017, after their wedding bus caught on fire.
Avon Volunteer Fire Department
Justin Stone and Maria Leonardi, of New York City, hitched a ride to their wedding reception with Avon, Connecticut, firefighters Saturday, June 10, 2017, after their wedding bus caught on fire.

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By Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

AVON, Conn. —

The “for better or for worse” part of a couple’s marriage started early on Saturday when the bus taking them from the church to their wedding reception caught on fire. 

The roadblock was temporary, though, because Justin Stone and Maria Leonardi, of New York City, received a special gift from the Avon Volunteer Fire Department in Avon, Connecticut, where their wedding was held. Not only did firefighters put out the engine fire on their now-incapacitated bus, but they offered the newlyweds a lift to their reception. 

“One of the firemen came around and asked us, ‘Do you want a ride to the reception in the fire truck? We’re sorry that we can’t take the whole party, but we can take the two of you,’” Stone, 31, told ABC News in an interview. “We both jumped at that opportunity.”

Leonardi, 30, described the firefighters as “gracious and wonderful.”

“I thought it was the best thing ever, and they were so incredibly nice,” she said. 

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Michael Trick, chief of the fire department, praised his crew. 

“I’m very proud of our volunteer fire department and the men and women who are a part of it,” Trick told ABC News. “We were able to assist and make their memorable day just a little bit more special.”

Facebook post the department shared about the situation went viral, with thousands of people liking the post and sharing it with their own friends. People from across North America also sent the firefighters kudos in the comments. 

“Hope this helps people to understand that firefighters go to work never knowing what their day will bring,” a man wrote from Ontario, Canada. “This was a happy one. I am sure they are few and far between. Thank you for your courage and your kindness. Stay safe.”

“You guys turned a wedding day fiasco into one of the best memories this couple will have,” a Pennsylvania woman wrote. “Your community is lucky to have you.”


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