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It was out with the old and in with the new at Sedona Fire District’s Station 3.

About 25 members of the SFD, three Governing Board members along with the public turned out on Monday, July 17, for a wet down and push-in ceremony to help christen a new fire engine that will serve the Village of Oak Creek.

“We often say that the fire station is our home away from home,” Capt. Eric Lewis said to those in attendance. “If that’s the case, then our engines are our second home away from home because we spend so much time in them.”

The new engine is a 2016 Pierce and replaces a 2004 KME pumper, which will move into reserve status. The purchase was approved last summer by the SFD Governing Board in the amount of $585,936. Chief Kris Kazian said it takes nearly a year for the truck to be built and then delivered.

It was officially put into service in Friday, July 14, and immediately saw action as crews responded to a small brush fire on State Route 179.

The new engine is equipped with all the state-of-the-art technology that enables firefighters to appropriately do their job, Asst. Chief Jeff Piechura said prior to the event. Unlike the old engine, the new one can move along as firefighters battle something like a brush fire. There’s also a large exterior gauge that lets the crews know of the water level and immediately alerts them when it’s low.

And something that came as a surprise to many, this new engine is equipped with air bags, unlike most in the fleet.

The old fire engine will become the district’s lone reserve and will be used in the event of a large fire or when other engines are in for maintenance.

“We are hoping to get many more years of service out of the reserve engine before retiring it,” Piechura said.

According to Fire Marshal Jon Davis, the wet down, push-in ceremony pays homage to a tradition started by firefighters more than 130 years ago.

“The tradition began in the late 1800s when fire departments used horses to pull pumpers to fires,” he said. “When the fire was over and the firefighters returned to the firehouse, the real work was just beginning. Before the horses went back into their stalls or the pumper went back into the station, they had to be washed and readied for the next fire.”

Firefighters then had to push the pumper back into the station by hand as the horses were not able to easily back them in. Once these tasks were completed, it signified that the pumper was ready to serve again, Davis said.

The tradition has continued into the modern day but has transformed into a means to welcome new apparatus to the department and signal that it is ready to begin serving its community.

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