With a mighty heave — and help from its motor — the San Marcos Fire Department’s newest fire engine was pushed into its home at Station 1 Monday.
Firefighters, city staff, and city council members participated in the vehicle’s pushing in ceremony, a tradition that dates back to the days when new horse-drawn fire engines would be unhooked from the team delivering them and pushed into the station.
“This isn’t just our apparatus, only for our firefighters. It’s something that belongs to the citizens,” Fire Chief Les Stephenssaid. “It’s here to serve the citizens of San Marcos.”
The new rescue pumper is the department’s first all-new apparatus that includes new gear and equipment, allowing firefighters to place it into service less than a month after it was delivered without having to transfer equipment from a reserve vehicle.
A committee consisting of Battalion Chief Rick Rowell, Captain Rodger Olson (Ret.), Captain John Koenig, Captain Garrett Jordan, Engineer Tory Turner and firefighter Jordan Hutto researched and developed specifications for the apparatus and all of its equipment — from the chassis down to individual tools.
“Everything has a place,” Rowell said, pulling open a drawer with nozzle pieces nestled in individual compartments. “Firefighters can tell at a glance whether all of their tools are there.”
The fire department is also celebrating the recent delivery of two new brush trucks and a miniature emergency response vehicle, or MERV. All three are custom-built with features that suit them for the rough Hill Country terrain in which they will operate.
The brush trucks feature military run-flat tires, nozzles mounted on the sides and front bumpers, and a remote-controlled front nozzle with a 40-foot range. The MERV is a side-by-side utility vehicle that can fight small brush fires in the city’s numerous green spaces with its 80-gallon water tank and foam system and can be used to evacuate a patient from remote areas that other off-road vehicles can’t access.