Rockledge welcomes new fire engine in unique ceremony


Firefighters and city officials push in the new Engine No. 37 to officially put it into service at a ceremony Aug. 11.

VIERA VOICE Chris Bonanno

The Rockledge Fire Department has a new state-of-the-art fire engine in use as Engine No. 37 was officially put into operation at a ceremony Aug. 11 at the M.W. “Bill” Weinberg Fire Station off Murrell Road in Rockledge.

“We need this type of equipment in order to answer the call consistently and to not be in fear that our apparatus has aged and (is) outdated and mechanically unsound. So, the city providing us with this, this is stewardship of the tax monies that we’re afforded and it’s just an amazing, amazing piece of equipment,” said Jim Wilson, deputy chief of the Rockledge Fire Department. As part of the event, a tradition for the introduction and retirement of fire engines was conducted for what is believed to be the first time in the city’s history, Wilson said.

After remarks were made by officials at the event, including Rockledge Chief of Police Joseph LaSata, Rockledge Mayor Thomas J. Price and Wilson, the new fire engine was blessed by Shaun Ferguson, the city chaplain. Following that, two RFD firefighters used a hose to spray water from the retiring fire engine onto the new one.

From there, firefighters and their families took towels and dried the fire engine off. Finally, firefighters and some officials helped push the engine into the station, officially marking the engine’s activation.

“When fire departments get a brand new apparatus, like this beautiful engine here, it’s tradition to go ahead to push it into its bay in order to put it into service. So, that’s what we’re doing today, bringing her into service in the way it’s supposed to be done, honoring the tradition of the past while bringing in the future of this department,” Wilson said.

The engine was the first new engine purchased by the city since 2013, according to RFD Battalion Chief S.M. Deatherage.

“It’s basically just larger than the other one we had,” Deatherage said. “It’s got more storage room. The ladders are in such a way that makes it much easier for the crews to access and (it has) a lot more compartment space.”

“It’s state of the art, it holds 750 gallons. It pumps 1,500 gallons per minute. Basically it’s computerized and it has every safety feature you could possibly imagine,” Wilson said of the engine, which cost more than $400,000. “Most importantly, it was (planned) out and designed by a committee of our actual fire personnel who will have to put it to use.”

The old No. 37 engine will be used as a reserve engine, LaSata added. VV