LFPD commissions new truck

Posted 1/3/24

LINN   — Linn Fire Protection District personnel hosted an apparatus decommissioning and commissioning ceremony at Station 1 on Dec. 7.

Board members Scott Herndon, Mike Ely, Dee …

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LFPD commissions new truck


LINN  — Linn Fire Protection District personnel hosted an apparatus decommissioning and commissioning ceremony at Station 1 on Dec. 7.

Board members Scott Herndon, Mike Ely, Dee Bequette, Colby Nilges, and Brad Gabelsberger, and retired members Mark Meyers and Scott Bequette were recognized at the commissioning by firefighters for their commitment and vision that prepared for the purchase of the engines several years ago, with money earmarked each year. Herndon’s foresight in purchasing these six-man trucks first gave the district its strategic plan. LFPD paid for the engines with money placed into CDs until needed for the purchase, which saved the district several thousands in interest.

The district’s 2022 Rosenbauer International (ID 896) — ordered two years ago from Brian Franz with Sentinel Emergency Solutions in St. Louis for $298,148 — was received and presented during the November board meeting. The new truck was ready for service after getting a dual-head radio, insurance, additional equipment, and other needed tasks completed, as well as Vehicle ID.

LFPD’s sister engine, a 2021 Rosenbauer International (ID 700), was ordered in 2019 and delivered two years ago.

These engines are replacing the district’s older set of sister engines, 1987 Grumman Internationals (IDs 536 and 538), bought new in 1987 for $86,000 each. The city of Linn owned one engine, and the Linn Rural Fire Association owned the other. In 2001, the newly formed Linn Fire Protection District bought the city truck. For the past 36 years, both engines served the community, surpassed only in honors by the firefighters trained to operate them.

Morrison Volunteer Fire Department purchased Truck 536 and still uses it as a lead engine out of Station 2.

On Dec. 7, Truck 538 was retired and will remain with LFPD until a final disposition can be made.

A 1976 Ford Firemaster that replaced the city’s Grumman in 1987 was sold to Morrison Fire. Linn firefighters purchased the truck from Morrison Fire as a parade truck a few years ago for nostalgia.

“Citizens may not fully understand the sentimental connection of a firefighter and their apparatus, but each firefighter who has driven and operated these trucks has many special memories,” said Hoffman.

When Deputy Chief Brian Leivian joined the department in 1992, this engine was only 5 years old. In 36 years, these engines only served one department and had only two door patches — Linn Fire Department and the Linn Rural Fire Association — and now the Linn Fire Protection District. “This retiring engine took us to calls, shined during Christmas parades, sat at scenes idling running the pump during firefighting operations and investigations, during heat, cold, snow, and rain,” said Hoffman. “It was staged at the county fair, responded to vehicle fires and accidents, and helped other departments through mutual aid. The truck, manned by male and female firefighters, young and old, went to calls that will always stick in our minds. They helped us to grow as firefighters and engineers, providing water to a crew inside burning buildings that counted on us — the engineer and this engine.”

During the decommissioning ceremony, the equipment was moved to the new engine. For the first time in 36 years, Truck 538 sits at Station 1 with no hose, gear, or equipment. “It is an uncommon sight,” said Hoffman, who looked at the empty truck and could only say, “Job well done.”

A prayer for the new truck was recited with the hope that “it will always keep the driver and firefighters safe while going to calls, and help protect our citizens as any engine is designed to do for years to come, and the hope that it is used as little as possible.”

The last part of the commissioning ceremony saw the retiring engine pump water from her tanks into the new truck. Deputy Chief Brian Leivian, LFPD’s oldest serving firefighter, prepared the transfer.

Hoffman noted the transfer of water from the retiring engine to the new engine dates back to the 1800s. “Water was never wasted but moved to the tanks of a new engine, symbolizing a firefighter’s sword, that last piece of equipment held by the fire truck,” he explained. “On a fire truck, fill lights show at a glance how much water is in the tank. While filling, you can see the water tank fill lights slowly lighting up from the blinking empty red light on the new truck as the full green light disappears on the retiring truck as the water is transferred. Finally, the retired truck has a flashing red for ‘empty,’ while the new truck has a steady green light for ‘full.’ It’s a sad moment any firefighter that grew up around an apparatus can understand.”

The “Pushing-In Ceremony” for the new truck was the final step. “Once the new engine was filled with water, it was ready for service, but first, the new engine was pushed by hand into the station,” said Hoffman. “The tradition dates back to when a horse-drawn apparatus returned to the station. The horse could not back the apparatus into the station, so it was unhooked and pushed by hand. When apparatus became motorized, the tradition continued, and the engine was pushed into the station for the first time.”

Like the new engine in 2021, the new truck is now ready. With the help of firefighters, family, and citizens, and steered by Firefighter Camron Leivian, the truck was placed in neutral, and everyone pushed it into the station. Once inside, the lights were flashed, and the engine was ready for service.

The ceremony concluded with a small supper celebration, with special guest Donnie Brown, a former Linn firefighter who now lives in Belle. Many memories were discussed about the retiring fire truck and former firefighters.

LFPD will not tentatively be looking at any truck replacement for another 10 years but will focus on moving Station 4 to district-owned property on Rt. CC, and purchasing new SCBAs.

The Linn Fire Protection District is still a volunteer fire service. Hoffman noted that with the growth and call volume in the past seven years in the Linn area, consideration may be necessary for a combination of paid and volunteer service.