PRINCETON — Last Friday, Aug. 11, Princeton City Fire Department dedicated three 2017 model custom-made, fire trucks with the congratulations from the offices of City Manager Ken Clay, Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins.
Engines 31, 33 and Tower 2 were dedicated at the Princeton Municipal Building coinciding with the celebration of the department’s 106th anniversary.
These three engines will be replacing models from 1976,1990,1997 and 1999. The trucks were customized to accommodate the expanding needs of the city. According to Fire Chief Chad Bailey, the trucks’ water and pumping capacity, as well as ladder length, are equipped to best serve unique aspects of Princeton, such as steep angles and building heights.
The following details outline the specifications of the individual trucks:
• Engine 33 is a 2017 Pierce Saber Pumper with a 1,000-gallon tank and 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump. It will be housed at the substation, and has already been used to fight its first fire.
• Tower 2 is a 2017 Pierce Velocity 100-foot areal platform. This platform has extended the department’s reach by 25 feet, allowing the department, once again, to reach any rooftop in the City of Princeton. Tower 2 pumps 2,000 gallons of water, and will be housed at the PFD’s main station.
• Engine 31, also a 2017 Pierce Saber Pumper 1997, has a 750-gallon tank 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump to be housed at main station.
The department is proud to bring this updated equipment to the community without fire fees or increased taxes. Tower 2 alone cost $1.1 million, while the two other engines were approximately $400,000 a piece. The cost of the trucks cost will be covered through a lease-payment plan over the course of the next ten years.
Representatives from various city offices shared high praise for the Insurance Service Office Class 2 organization. Being 1 of only 11 Class 2 departments in West Virginia, an honor that was granted to the department two years ago, Bailey said that the new apparatus would only help PFD maintain its high ranking.
Clay, spoke at the dedication, saying “These new trucks will last many years, thanks to the capable care of the Princeton Fire Department. I have to commend the PFD. I can’t say enough about them. In the way they work the officers and firefighters, they not only operate their equipment, but maintain it as well.”
Following his congratulations and high praise, spokes person from Senator Manchin’s office, Brian Aluise echoed the sentiments, bringing a message from the senator saying, “I have such a tremendous respect for these (firefighters and first responders) because they provide an irreplaceable service and forever deserve the recognition they receive.”
Mary Eckerson, of Capito’s office, read on the senator’s behalf, “As an esteemed Class 2 combination fire department, you perform some of the most crucial tasks in local government by keeping the community safe in the event of fire in residences, businesses, forests, traffic accidents, which may or may not involve hazmat materials, flood rescue and other life treating situations; these are just a few of your responsibilities. Therefore firefighters need strong, reliable, state-of-the-art equipment in order to react appropriately and quickly to all emergency situations.”
Jovially, Capito shared that her office had referred to the trucks as “heavy metal.”
Several other offices commended the department on the successes and shared in the excitement.
Bailey, in his closing comments, expressed pride in the department and appreciation for the workers who made the investment in the trucks worth it.
“(The firefighters) are the reason that this department is 1 out of 1,324 Class 2 ISO in the nation. These guys put in the work that you will never know. There were nights that I left here, and these guys are looking at these trucks, and when I came in the next morning, they were with those trucks. I wondered if they actually slept that night or not. Without them, these trucks would be useless. They would be “heavy metal. They would be sitting there without these trained professionals out there doing their jobs. Thank you guys for everything.”
Firefighter Charlie Croy said that dedicating three brand new trucks simultaneously is a once-in-a-career experience. He said, “I love driving these trucks. The bigger, the better.”
Bailey explained that the traditional dedication of a fire truck, called a “wetting-down ceremony,” involves spraying water on the fire truck and pushing the engines back into the station. Due to the multiple truck dedication, a reveal was done, instead of the wetting-down ceremony. However, with a light rain that morning, the engines received a natural version of the long-held tradition.
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