“I’m starting my 24th year as a firefighter in Pell City,” Fire Chief Mike Burdette said at the fire truck’s dedication ceremony. “This is one of the best days — a great day to be chief.”
Burdette said the program to get the fire truck began 10 months ago.
“This is state-of-the-art equipment — the best we could buy that would meet our needs,” he said. “Our 10-month project has finally come to fruition.”
Burdette said the new fire engine is a 2013 Typhoon rescue pumper that can accommodate four firefighters.
“It pumps 1,250 gallons per minute and has a 530-gallon tank,” he said. “It has 2,000 feet of supply line and two 200-foot-long hand lines. It should be in service in 7 to 10 days.”
City manager Patrick Draper said purchasing the new fire engine is part of a five-year replacement plan to keep the fire department in the best shape possible.
“It is similar to the Police Department’s vehicle replacement plan,” he said.
Draper said the fire engine has a safety roll cage and is the city’s first fire truck to have that feature.
“Our men and women of the Pell City Fire Department deserve the best,” he said.
Burdette said the Fire Department worked with the Pell City Board of Education on the design — the black and gold school colors and a panther painted on the side.
“We want to be united in our community,” he said. “We bought the safest truck we could put our people in, but the citizens of this city own the truck. That’s the idea behind it — unity.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Barber said the new fire engine visited the four elementary schools Friday morning.
“The kids love it and have a sense of ownership — in their mind it’s their truck,” he said. “There is so much potential for educational opportunities — fire safety and safety in general. The kids can identify with it and that helps bridge the gap. It’s a great tool to have.”
Mayor Joe Funderburg officially dedicated the fire truck into service.
“This was a community effort,” he said. “This will represent our city in many ways, not just answering rescue calls but representing unity. On occasions like this, I’m real proud to say I’m from Pell City.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.