The Wytheville Fire Department has a new member. She’s big, shiny, hauls 1,000 gallons of water and arrived in town Monday afternoon.
It’s the department’s newest vehicle. Rescue Engine No. 1 will go on fire calls but will also serve as a vehicle rescue unit. Firefighters, who got their first look at the truck Monday, were impressed.
“I’m tickled to death,” said one. “Ain’t that pretty?”
After looking over the engine for a few minutes, the department’s longest serving current member, Randy Kirby, jumped behind the wheel to back her into the apparatus bay.
When asked if he wanted to be the first one to drive the truck, he joked, “I guess I will; I can’t push.”
After putting the truck into reverse, his fellow firefighters helped out by pushing the truck into the garage. Backing the fire truck in took some expertise – it’s a perfect fit, with maybe an inch to spare on either side of the side-mounted rear view mirrors.
The 2018 Pierce Enforcer Rescue Engine was purchased from Atlantic Emergency Solutions for almost $560,000. It was previously used as a demonstration model, which helped cut down on the cost, Fire Chief Marc Brade said.
According to Brade, auto accidents are the second highest calls for service in Wytheville. The unit will carry vehicle extrication equipment, such as the “Jaws of Life” tool, air bag extrication equipment and a variety of battery or hydraulic cutting tools.
“What this unit will be able to provide is the ability to deliver services and tools out of one unit versus having to respond in multiple units,” Brade said in an email. “This will significantly cut down in response times and increase our capability to mitigate all hazards.”
The average replacement for fire trucks is 15 to 20 years. The new fire engine replaces a 1991 American LaFrance Engine, which no longer meets safety specifications and did not give the department the ability to carry much-needed equipment, Brade said. The old truck is for sale on a national website for used fire trucks.
The Wytheville Fire Department is looking for volunteers. If interested, call 223-3300.
To reach Millie Rothrock, call 228-6611, ext. 35, or email firstname.lastname@example.org