The Waxahachie Fire Department christened its newest truck in a ceremony held at Station 3. Firefighters put the department’s new 2014 Pierce ladder truck into service Friday.
“This has been a long time coming. We started in on this process somewhere around January or February of 2013. There has been a lot of time and work of putting this together,” Fire Chief Ricky Boyd said. “It has taken a big effort on the part of the city to get all of the financing together and all the specifications. We really do appreciate all of the effort that has gone into this.”
Boyd thanked the many members of the department's apparatus committee who put in long hours in designing the truck to meet the current and future needs of department.
The new truck has a 105-foot ladder and 500 gallon per minute pump installed. The cab is more spacious than the cabs of the department's other trucks. The truck also incorporates LED lighting which is more energy efficient than older trucks and draws less power from the batteries.
“Another big feature is how the compartments are laid out. It is a very smart design that these men have worked numerous hours on. Everything is laid out in an efficient manner,” Boyd said. “Like items are put together to where on certain types of calls you will know where everything is at without looking in several different compartments. It is a very unique piece of equipment and we are glade to have it.”
Boyd said the new ladder truck costs about $1.15 million and will serve for at least 15 years in front line service and then about 10 years as a reserve truck.
Department Chaplain Bruce Zimmerman offered up a prayer of thanks and dedication for the new truck. Zimmerman prayed for the protection for each firefighter who works at the department and for the ones who will be using the new ladder truck daily.
“We pray for all the men that will be serving and using this apparatus. I pray Lord that your protection will be on them as they seek to protect us, the citizens of this city,” Zimmerman said. “So thank you so much for the many ways that you have showered your grace upon us. On this day we bless you and thank you for the arrival and commissioning of this truck and putting it into service for this city.”
Lt. Trey Moon wet down the new ladder truck by spraying water on it from the old apparatus to christen it into service.
“The existing truck is a 1997 Pierce apparatus. It has served this city well,” Boyd said. “We are going to be able to keep it and use it as an extra truck when our front line truck is out of service. Hopefully it won’t be (down) very often. When it is out of service we will have a reserve.”
As a reserve, the 1997 ladder truck will continue to receive regular maintenance and will be checked daily at the start of each shift. The old truck will be moved from Station 3 on YMCA Drive to serve out of Station 2 on Cleaver Street.
Friday’s ceremony also connected the present with the past, a time when horse drawn pumpers, ladders and hose wagons were used in fire service. After coming back from a call, early day firefighters would uncouple the horse(s) and push the cart back into the bay to prepare it for the next call. After the new ladder truck was sprayed down, firefighters pushed it back into the engine bay at Station 3.
A part of the department’s history is honored on the side of the truck as well with a patch of the James S. Davis Hook and Ladder Company.
“At one time there were three volunteer fire companies here in town. The Salamander Hose Company, The Getzendaner Hose Company and the James S. Davis Hook and Ladder Company. When the department went to professional status in 1922 the volunteer departments went away,” Boyd said. “We wanted to honor the past. One of these days we want somebody remembering us. The only way that is going to happen is if we remember our past. It is also important to remember where we have come from, what they have accomplished in the past and what we are trying to accomplish in the future to honor that.”