ST. GEORGE — Beaver Dam-Littlefield firefighters and fellow area responders welcomed a new fire engine with an old tradition Monday.
“The tradition is to push the (firetruck) in the bay, so that’s why we invited all of our neighbors to come up here,” Beaver Dam-Littlefield Arizona Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said. “Today was the official put-it-into-service day.”
The tradition hearkens back to the days when fire pumps were on wagons drawn by horses and had to be physically pushed back into their bays at the fire station at the end of the day, he said.
Helping push the new firetruck into its new home were members of the fire district, the Mesquite and Bunkerville fire departments, Mercy Air, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The new firetruck has been marked as Engine 11 and takes the place of an aging firetruck – often referred to as an “apparatus” by firefighters – that needed replacing.
It’s an industry standard of sorts to replace a fire apparatus after 20 years of service, Hunt said, and the one that Engine 11 replaces had been in service for 24 years.
While a firetruck may not accumulate much mileage, the hours of service are a different matter, and the older the truck gets, the more prone its parts are to wearing out. This can pose a problem when firefighters rely on their trucks to get them to fires and pump water to douse a blaze.
The older a firetruck gets, it can also fall out of compliance with evolving industry standards.
“We need stuff that’s very reliable,” Hunt said.
New firetrucks can run between $500,000-$700,000, with municipalities and fire districts using various means to cover the cost of the new apparatus. Applying for federal grants is not uncommon, and while the fire district has received those in the past, no grants were used to acquire Engine 11.
Instead, Hunt said they were able to pull from various avenues, including funds gleaned from the district’s ambulance service and wildland fire division.
Though the new truck will benefit the Beaver Dam-Littlefield service area, it will also benefit the surrounding area, including Mesquite and up toward St. George on Interstate 15.
“In a roundabout way, we all benefit from the equipment that each other has,” Hunt said. “We are now far to serve the community and those that pass through the community because of the apparatus we have.”
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