Old and new Crestview fire trucks come home

Brian Hughes | Special to the News Bulletin

CRESTVIEW — As the aroma of a sausage and pancake breakfast filled the air around Fire Station 3, the new met the old Sept. 25 amid a background of celebration and tradition when the city's newest firetruck joined the Crestview Fire Department’s fleet, and a 1941 CFD fire engine came home.

Following a tradition dating back to the 1800s, the glistening, newly-built Pierce ladder truck entered its new home when a team of Crestview firefighters pushed the apparatus into Station 3’s bay after remarks by Fire Chief Tony Holland and Mayor JB Whitten.

Eight current Crestview firefighters push CFD’s new ladder truck into Station 3, passing the department’s 1941 Chevrolet firetruck which had recently come home after many decades.

“Everybody’s excited,” CFD Capt. Corey Winkler said. “Monday it was put in service for the first time. All three shifts had to do some training on it. Once they did the training, we put it into service. Monday it ran its first call. It worked beautifully”

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Truck 3, as the Pierce is designated, is the Brookmeade Drive station’s primary truck. It has the added advantage over a standard firetruck of a 107-foot extendable ladder with a hose mounted at the tip that can deliver an impressive 1,500 gallons of water a minute.

“It gives us the capability to reach fires in larger structure that you can’t get to with a regular truck,” Winkler said. “Typically, you see it used more on a defensive fire.”

As current and retired Crestview firefighters observe, Fire Chief Tony Holland speaks during Truck 3’s push-in ceremony Sept. 25

Even though Crestview’s tallest buildings rarely surpass four floors — such as the county’s Brackin Building on Wilson Street or the “four story” medical center on West Redstone — a ladder truck allows firefighters to direct a powerful stream of water from above, rather than from ground level.

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Joining active and retired Crestview firefighters and other dignitaries at the push-in ceremony was a stately old lady who returned to her home just in time for the ceremony.

The Crestview Fire Department’s 1941 Chevrolet firetruck was located by first-year firefighter Carl Day, who used down time to research the vehicle using its registration numbers.

Retired Crestview firefighters stand next to the CFD’s 1941 Chevy firetruck, which had recently come home.

“Here’s a guy who’s brand new and he was enthusiastic enough to stay persistent until he found it,” Winkler said.

After changing hands several times, residing in a museum and then being sold at auction into a private collection, the Chevy headed back to its original home after it was swapped for another firetruck the Chevy’s most recent owner had his eye on.

A $6,000 donation by the Crestview Professional Firefighters union and a matching city grant helped that purchase.

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“It’s in better shape than was anticipated, but it’s going to need some repairs,” Winkler said. “We’re glad to have it back. It’s nice that this piece of Crestview Fire Department heritage made its way back to us.”

The Chevy will be used for ceremonies, parades and special appearances while the new apparatus replaces the CFD’s previous 1980s ladder truck, which will be sold at auction.

The Pierce has a few innovations not even visualized in 1941. Its features include back and side cameras, two LED flood lights each on the truck’s back and sides, a spacious cab that can accommodate five seated firefighters, and other state-of-the-art technology.

“It’s a beautiful piece of equipment,” Capt. Winkler said.

Torren Mosley — perhaps a future fireman like his dad, Crestview firefighter Tony Mosley — tries out the chrome bell topped by a brass eagle on the CFD’s new ladder truck shortly before its push-in ceremony.

Fire department push-in ceremonies

In the early days of firefighting in the 19th-century, hand-pulled fire engines, ladder wagons, hose carts, and other equipment had to be pushed back into the station by hand after returning from a fire.

With the advent of horse-drawn steam engines, while they could be backed up using the horses, it was difficult to align the steam connections on the engine with those in the station. The horses were therefore disconnected, and the steamers were usually pushed back into the station by hand.

Though the development of motorized engines in the early 20th century made pushing the apparatus unnecessary, firefighters like to honor their profession’s traditions. Some companies, Crestview’s included, pay homage to their roots and push their new engines into the station by hand, which also displays unity among a fire department’s members. Source: Firehouse.com