“It is a great day and along time in coming,” San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda said at the beginning of Saturday’s dedication ceremony for the department’s shiny new engine.
“The new fire engine you see in front of you is a 2018 Pierce Manufacturing Type I custom fire apparatus from Appleton, Wisconsin. This apparatus was acquired in October 2017. It is designed for reduced maintenance; increased safety; improved reliability; and additional storage. It features a 500 horsepower Detroit Diesel engine, 500 gallon water tank and 15 gallon foam tank. It took nearly a year to design and manufacture and required three separate inspection trips. Next generation TAK 4 suspension dramatically improves handling and ride quality while significantly increasing front tire life.”
As the audience gazed in admiration, Rueda briefly reviewed the day’s purpose: a traditional dedication of the vehicle.
“In the fire service, the act of transferring water in to the new fire engine represents life, as well as always being ready to protect,” Rueda explained. “Once the water has been transferred from the old engine, the new engine’s lights will shine bright. The ceremony will also include the housing ritual, which dates back to the 1800s when horses were used to pull fire engines. The neighborhood would assist with pushing the engine backward since the horses were ineffective at doing so. So the fire fighters are in the process of setting up to transfer water into the fire engine and breathe life into the new engine.”
After that task was completed, several community members and city administrators returned #91 to the bay.
“The same way it was done 200 years ago, into the apparatus bay where it will always be ready to protect.”
Mayor Steve Talt was a part of the ceremony and even got to use a firefighters’ axe to cut a cake that was specially prepared for a reception.
“Chief Rueda and his crew did a fantastic job making the dedication traditional and fun,” Talt told The Tribune. “The history behind the tradition of running water from the old engine to the new one, and the housing of the new engine by having the community push it in from the front, was very meaningful, especially for a city that appreciates and embraces tradition.”
According to Rueda, the new fire engine will enable the city of San Marino to provide improved service with advanced firefighting technology that will benefit not only residents and visitors to San Marino, but also residents across the San Gabriel Valley as part of current automatic and mutual aid agreements.
He stressed that in responding to vehicle accidents, structure fires, and medical emergencies such as heart attacks, time is of the essence and the new engine will help ensure that pressing needs are met. The previous engine was 10 years old and Rueda harbored concerns over its reliability.
The new Type 1 engine is larger and has more horsepower than the previous one, which will reduce the response time for San Marino’s firefighter/paramedics. With the new addition, the city will have no need to add or replace any fire engines for another 10 years, enabling the city to make other necessary capital improvements, according to Rueda. The new fire engine cost approximately $698,000.
Serving approximately 14,000 residents and over 4,500 homes and commercial properties, the San Marino Fire Department is a modern “all risk” public safety agency.