The latest addition to Seymour Fire Department’s fleet of trucks was introduced with a little more fanfare than most new ones.
In the past, when the city purchased a new firetruck, it was put into service and a photo with the chief, the mayor and a city councilman or two would have been taken and published in The Tribune.
When the city recently received delivery of its new engine to replace the 20-year-old engine/pumper at Station 2, Fire Chief Brad Lucas decided he wanted to introduce it to its new home and the community in a more traditional way — the wash down and push back ceremony.
In a day when engines, pumpers and other fire equipment were pulled by horses, the horses were unhooked in the street in front of the firehouse after a run. The equipment was washed free of mud and other things, including horse manure that had been picked up off what was then dirt streets.
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The piece of equipment was then pushed back into the firehouse, and the horses were taken around to the back of the station to the stable.
The wash down and push ceremony has become popular on the East Coast in recent years, Lucas said.
“… and it has been done a few times around here,” Lucas said.
He said it’s something he had heard about and just thought it might be nice to do once the newly delivered $450,000 Engine 2 was equipped and ready to be placed into service.
Lucas also decided to ask local kindergarten students at Emerson Elementary School to help with the ceremony at the station at Fifth and Pine streets.
It’s just a way to introduce them to the fire department and give the children a little history about firefighting, he said.
Kindergarten teacher Dana Bullard said the children were excited about the idea of visiting the fire station, and teachers had talked with them about firetrucks before heading to the station.
“They made a banner, and we painted our hands on it, and we’ve got our names on it,” she said. “So maybe one of these days, when they visit the fire station, they will see it and remember today.”
Kindergartner Eli Bukowski said he has never had the chance to be around firetrucks, but he liked visiting and helping with the ceremony.
The children all were given a chance to wipe down a spot or two on the truck.
Some of them also the chance to hop up in the truck and take a brief ride as Engine 2 was backed into the station and backed out a couple of times.
Kindergartner Riley VonDielingen said that was her favorite part of the visit.
“I liked hopping up into it,” she said. “It was fun.”
The rear portion of the cab had enough room for a dozen or so small children.
Jayden Davidson said the firetruck was pretty loud as it backed up, but he liked having the chance to get inside the cab and to wash it down.
“It was shiny,” Davidson said.
Some of the kids also were given the chance to act as if they were pushing the firetruck into the station.
The new Engine 2 was built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin. It replaces the current Engine 2 that has been in service at Station 2 for the past 20 years.
“This is the first time there has been a new truck since the station was built in 1967,” Lucas said.
The old Engine 2 will be held in reserve at Station 2 in case one of the current trucks at any of the city’s three fire stations needs servicing, Lucas said. The department will get rid of a 1976 ladder truck.
The new Engine 2 pumper can carry 750 gallons of water, while the old one carried just 500 gallons.
That will help firefighting efforts in the northwest part of the city where fire hydrants are a little farther apart, Lucas said.
He said the last new firetruck was purchased about 10 years ago.
Trucks are designed to last about 20 years, but the department is hoping to get 25 years out of Ladder 1, which was purchased in 1997. That Pierce-Lantz ladder truck will cost more than $1 million to replace.