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M/PIFCD celebrates new trucks

May 3, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Saturday morning, Pine Islanders arrived at the Matlacha /Pine Island Fire Control District Station #1 to celebrate placing two new trucks into service. The ceremony included "wet-down" and "push-in" customs dating back to the 1800s. The new engines were officially "placed into service" Saturday.

In the "wet-down" tradition, the new truck is hosed down using the old truck it is replacing.

Fire Chief Ben Mickuleit then invited the public to dry the truck off with souvenir hand towels. Each hand towel was embroidered with "Matlacha Pine Island E-151 Truck Ceremony."

Article Photos

Pine Islanders push the new engine into the bay.


The "push-in" ceremony is when everyone pushes the truck into the bay.

"This ceremony stems from the tradition of the community celebrating the good fortune of the purchase of a new fire engine," Mickuleit said. "It began in the days before motorized trucks and the firefighters would push the equipment into the fire house because the horses were unable to do so."

The two new trucks are commercial pumper fire trucks, manufactured by E-One. The two trucks crossed the Matlacha Bridge, arriving on the island Feb. 14, 2017, and are now officially in service.

"These were purchased to replace our outdated engines from 1995 and 2001," Mickuleit said. "Once these were approved, we began the process of designing the two engines on April 5 of last year.. We even went to the facilities to see where they would be built."

Each truck is built on a Freightliner 4-door, top-mount, pump chassis with a Cummins 360HP motor. Both trucks have a 1,000-gallon water tank capacity with 20 gallons of foam.

"There's also much more storage on these new trucks for equipment," Mickuleit said. "Everything from Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (air packs) to our new extrication equipment. And it's important that both trucks are identical so our firefighters can get the equipment quickly and efficiently.

"These trucks are the lifeline to protecting our citizens," Mickuleit continued. "Reliability is important and we need to ensure that our equipment is reliable. These trucks are a valuable asset."

Both of the new engines are equipped with a

In addition to the 1,000-gallon internal water tanks for a quick fire attack, both trucks also have a rear booster reel (1-inch rubber fire hose) for a quicker attack on certain fire scenarios.

"I want to thank everyone for coming out today," Mickuleit said. "Please stay a while to meet some of the members of your fire department."



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