San Marcos firefighters push the new Fire Truck into the bay of Station 2 on Academy/ Holland Street, commemorating the sacred trust a fire truck represents to the community. Photo by Don Anders.
San Marcos firefighters welcomed a new fire apparatus to Fire Station #2 by reviving an old fire service tradition of pushing the old engine out by hand and pushing the new one in.
Around two dozen firefighters, including off-duty, on-duty and firefighters in training, participated in the ceremony at the station at Holland and Academy Streets. The proceedings were led by San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) Chief Les Stephens. The new $470,000 fire engine will serve the northwest area of San Marcos.
“It is a significant accomplishment for the fire department and the community to get a new fire engine,” Stephens said. “A fire engine symbolizes the sacred trust that exists between the community and the fire service.”
Stephens read from a speech by the editor of Fire Engineering Magazine, former Coppell, Fire Chief Bobby Halton, who quoted the late American author Kurt Vonnegut speaking about the symbolic importance of the fire truck.
Vonnegut said, in a post-9/11 service for firefighters, “I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire truck.”
Stephens read, from Halton’s speech, “Vonnegut knew what he was doing when he chose the fire truck to symbolize our sacred honor. The fire truck more than any other tool represents to every community that there are members of the community who are willing to sacrifice their own precious time, their own collected treasures, their own humanity in the protection of others’ lives…”
Stephens continued, ” It matters deeply that when the suffering, scared, and threatened hear our sirens and our air horns that their hearts rise in hope, for the picture they see is not of you or me but a six-ton medal of honor … a fire truck.”
The San Marcos firefighters pushed the 2009 Smeal fire apparatus, which was built to fit the station, into the bay of Fire Station 2 to begin its life of service.
The engine is equipped with $50,000 in special equipment. The 445 horsepower engine carries more than 2,300 feet of fire hose, high angle rescue gear, swift water rescue gear, the famous “jaws of life,” emergency medical equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus and other specialized equipment.
The old fire truck, a 1993 Sutphen engine that has served San Marcos for 15 years, will be retired to reserve status.
San Marcos firefighters celebrated the arrival of a new fire engine to serve San Marcos. Photo by Don Anders.