On Monday, Logan City Fire Department held a ceremony to commemorate the addition of new fire trucks. Logan City Fire Chief Brad Hannig said the traditional “push-in” ceremony is a throwback to the bygone days of fighting fires.
“Back in the history of fire departments, they used to have to push the wagon back in because they were horse drawn,” he said. “It’s kind of tradition when we get a new engine to push them in the station.”
The new semi-custom “triplets” cost around $600,000 each and took just shy of a year to build, Hannig said. Though it’s unusual for a fire department to purchase three fire engines at a time, Hannig said having each fire engine exactly the same helps standardize equipment across stations.
Hannig said the “bells and whistles” of the new fire engines will help increase the safety and efficiency of the firefighters.
For example, Hannig said the new trucks are equipped with a new “alert system” to notify vehicles on the road, as well as other fire engines, of the presence of emergency vehicles in the area.
“That’s a cool feature that we haven’t had,” Hannig said, explaining the system is still in its nascent stages but may point to the shape of emergency services to come.
According to Hannig, the rare purchase of three fire engines was made possible by a grant from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, which covered 50% of the cost. The Targeted Airshed Grant Program, Hannig said, is focused on addressing air quality and reducing emissions.
One peculiar element of the grant requires the fire department to destroy the trucks being replaced.
“Because it’s an air quality grant, they require us to destroy the old ones,” Hannig said. “Seems kind of extreme, right? But it’s a condition of the grant.”
Hannig said that perhaps as early as this week the trucks will be taken to a salvage yard where the frames will be cut in half and the motors will be core-drilled. Hannig said his department has to provide video footage of the trucks being destroyed in order to receive the grant payment.
“Emission standards have changed over the years,” Hannig said, explaining two of the engines were built prior to modern changes. “They want to make sure that that air quality is improved … and if we put those old rigs back on the road again, then you’re kind of defeating the purpose.”
Still, Hannig said it “seems unfortunate.” Though the old trucks are each around 20 years old, they aren’t necessarily unusable and another agency might have been able to benefit from an old fire engine, he said.
“There are some things that we can part out that aren’t motors or the frame,” Hannig said. “(The) chassis has to be destroyed and the motor, but there’s some other small parts that we’ll surplus to help some of these other agencies out there.”
Hannig said it’s not uncommon for firefighters to form an affinity for old fire engines. Experiences with the trucks and endearing memories can lead to some sentimental value.
But the perspective of the fire chief, Hannig said, is a little different.
“Out with the old, in with the new,” Hannig said. “There is a little bit of sentimental (value) there I’m sure for some, but it’s also time — we know when it’s time to retire something and they’re ready to be retired.”