Weatherford firefighters welcome new addition to emergency personnel family

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Weatherford firefighters, their families, city officials and other residents remembered those who sacrificed on 9/11 exactly 12 years ago but on the same day they commemorated a needed addition to their force.

“It’s a day of reflection but also a day of celebration,” Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust said.

After an invocation and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag that was at half staff outside Weatherford’s Station 3, the city’s new fire engine was washed and then pushed into the station, as is tradition.

Rust explained that the process of getting the new Pierce engine started about a year and a half ago with the forming of a committee that included officers, drivers and firefighters whose job it was to represent the department in the selection of the new engine.

Without that apparatus team and their energy and commitment, the department likely would not have gotten the quality engine they did, Rust said.

“It would’ve been just a dream on paper,” Rust said.

But that dream came into being in early September with the arrival of the engine built out of state.

Rust quoted Mayor Dennis Hooks as saying when they ordered a new fire engine – priced at about $500,000 – they needed to make sure they got “a real fire engine.”

“This is the best engine we can get,” Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins said. “It pays for itself.”

The apparatus committee demonstrated the new engine and displayed some of its new features that include the engine located farther back so the cab is more spacious and a wireless headset for the driver.

Other differences allow it to be handled more easily than most engines.

Hopkins said he especially likes the Texas flag design on the grill of the engine – an aspect that had to be requested.

Firefighter Jake Vanzant works his shifts from Station 3 and said they look forward to using the new engine – the first to be purchased in about five years.

“It was time for a new one,” Vanzant said.

Fire departments are advised to use engines for about 10 years before replacing them. The old Station 3 engine had been in use for 13 years and was traded in for the new one.

While receiving training for the new engine, Station 3 will continue using a reserve engine.

In recent months, the department faced issues of not having enough vehicles able to go on runs – even having to borrow an engine from Hudson Oaks when they did not have enough in service.

Some of those problems will be solved with the new engine.

“This new engine will not only better serve our customers,” Rust said. “It better protects our firefighters.”

The new engine puts the department in a better position to provide emergency services to the city while remaining safe themselves since traffic accidents are the second leading cause of firefighter deaths with trips and falls as the leading cause, Rust said.

“If it saves the life of one firefighter then it’s worth it,” Hopkins said of the engine.

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