The Carbondale Fire Department unveiled its new fire truck Wednesday, purchased recently by the city just for a shade under $1 million, according to Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry.
The truck came in at about $970,000.
On Wednesday, members of the fire department, city government and residents participated in a ceremonious “wet-down” of the truck and were given towels with a commemorative date on it to remember the occasion.
“We want them when they are doing their job to be as safe as they can and as effective as they can,” Henry said. “This equipment is going to help them do that every time it goes out.”
Carbondale Fire Chief Ted Lomax said one of the first differences about the new truck is that it has a 107-foot ladder. The previous truck was 102 feet.
“This gives us a little more reach,” he said.
He also said the truck doesn’t have to be stationary to be used. If an airplane goes down or something similar, the truck can spray foam while moving to help combat flames.
“That is a big advantage that we never had before,” Lomax said.
The previous truck was 32 years old and lived beyond most of the standard safety features of today’s vehicles.
“The old truck didn’t have seat belts, so that kind of tells its age,” Lomax said. “This truck has 5-point harnesses that helps keep firefighters a lot safer.
Firefighter Cody Eubanks one of was of the firefighters who suggested the department engage in some of the traditional ceremonies of the fire service with a new truck. He said the “wet-down” of the truck stems back to before government had a hand in the fire service.
“When they would get a new piece of equipment, they would challenge the equipment. Hook up to it and try to out-pump it,” he said. “We wanted to give everybody the opportunity to wipe it down after we soak it just to be part of our history here today.”
After that, the department pushed the truck into the department backward, which Eubanks said dates back to when the horses would pull the hose carts and hand pumps. He said after a fire, they would unhook from the horse and push he equipment backward into the station.