TEXARKANA, Texas -- The Fire Department on Monday celebrated its latest piece of equipment, a pumper truck designated Engine 7.
Interim Chief Chris Black showed off "Lucky No. 7" to a small group at Station 7 on South Robison Road. After a blessing prayer and a look inside the truck's storage compartments, Black and other firefighters ceremonially pushed it into the station.
Black said the push-in ceremony dates to the days of horse-drawn fire engines, when firefighters had to unhitch their horses and push the engine into its place in the station house.
The truck was manufactured in Brandon, South Dakota, by Spartan Emergency Response, according to a City Hall news release. It took 18 months to complete, at a total cost of $731,000. The new truck has 450 horsepower, carries a five-person crew and can pump 1,500 gallons per minute with a 750-gallon tank capacity.
This new engine will replace a 2006 model that will now be used as a reserved apparatus. The most noticeable differences in the new truck are more equipment storage and water tank capacity and added safety features. Its life expectancy is 15 to 20 years.
"It's more than just a fire engine. It's the ability to invest in first-class equipment for our firefighters. And so it's about safety and about protection of our community," City Manager David Orr said.
In addition to the new truck, Station 7 is receiving upgraded equipment and power tools, including battery operated chainsaws, pole saws and the department's first battery powered fan. This positive pressure fan is quieter than a gas-powered fan and does not emit exhaust fumes. It can also be used for firefighter rehab during high temperature seasons.
Orr said purchase of another engine is planned for next year's budget cycle and all five of the city's fire stations will soon be getting upgrades.