Saturday, May 25, 2024

Firefighters, commissioners ‘push in’ new fire engine

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CHELAN - Chelan Fire & Rescue held a new fire engine “push in’’ ceremony for their 2024 Spartan Emergency Response Vehicle, a 4-wheel drive and Wildland Urban Interface Fire Engine, on April 13 at the station at the corner of Wapato Avenue and Sanders Street. Chelan Fire Chief Brandon Asher welcomed those in attendance to the ceremony. 

‘’Three years ago we asked for our communities support in updating our aging fleet and bettering our staffing levels.  You graciously answered that call and we quickly went to work.  We hired three more firefighters, and we put together an apparatus committee to design and replace two 30 year old engines.   Today, after 717 long days, we get to place the new E71 in service.’’ said Chief Asher.

Fire Commissioners Karyl Oules and Russ Jones, and former commissioner Phil Moller were recognized for understanding the need and who authorized the purchases.

Members of the apparatus design team were members of Chelan Fire & Rescue and the community. They were Chief Asher,  Lt. Ron Simmons, Assistant Chief Shawn Sherman, Firefighter Sam Belsky, Chelan resident and retired Kirkland Battalion Chief Larry Peabody, retired Chelan Fire and Rescue mechanic John Goyne, and the districts representative from True North Emergency Equipment Steve Brewer.

The goal was to design an engine that could do it all: fight structure fires, brush fires, and have the capability to get firefighters there quickly and safely. 

E71 is a 2024 Spartan Metro Star 4x4 pumper.  It can carry four firefighters, has a 1,500 GPM pump, carries 750 gallons of water, 1,000 feet of  4 inch hose and has a front bumper turret (nozzle) capable of pumping while moving. Cost to the district was $750,000. The changes in elevation in the Lake Chelan Valley and firefighting challenges in the urban interface made this a top priority.

The ‘push in’ ceremony dates back to the 18th century. It honors firefighters and traditions of the past. Since horses could not back the apparatus into the fire house after coming back from a fire.  The firefighters would have to unhitch the horses in front of the bay, then wash the apparatus before pushing it back into the bay.  

Children in attendance were invited to wash down the engine using water from the engine that has served Chelan the last 16 years. Members of the community were invited to dry the fire engine before it was pushed into the fire house by firefighters and commissioners and officially ready for service. Chelan Fire & Rescue Chaplain Ed Bleitz blessed the truck as it began its lifesaving service and the Air Raid Siren was blown. 

The Air Raid Siren was the way the firefighters were alerted to every call in the Chelan Valley. With the advancement of technology it is now only use that for major second alarm or greater fires. 

Cake and refreshments were served after the ceremony and those in attendance were invited look at the truck and all the specialized equipment it carries; and the Firefighter’s Association had t-shirts for the community to purchase.

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