'It's a godsend': Blessing the new fire engine

Lincoln Township Fire Department holds push-in ceremony

LINCOLN TOWNSHIP — "Pretty rig," were words used to describe the new, bright red fire engine Lincoln Township Fire Department acquired as a needed replacement.

Members of the fire department and community gathered on a frigid, but sunny afternoon, Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Lincoln Township Fire Station for a push-in ceremony and blessing of a new fire truck.

Lincoln Township Fire Department services Lincoln and Cedar townships in Osceola County, and the northern half of Pinora Township in Lake County.

The afternoon began with Richard Steig of T.C. Energy, who used to be in the department, presenting a paycheck for a partial-payment toward the new fire engine to Lincoln Township Fire Chief David Beldon.

TC Energy, at an earlier time, contributed money toward new fire pagers, and now toward purchasing the fire truck, a 2022 Pierce pumper with a $295,000 price tag.

"It's a godsend," Beldon said, describing all the support toward the purchase of the much-needed new fire engine. "The other truck was failing and needed immediate replacement."

During the ceremony, members of the fire department gathered around as Beldon welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.

"I'd like to welcome you this afternoon to our push-in ceremony. We are excited to bring this fire engine into service today," Beldon said, explaining the 'push-in ceremony' is a tradition which dates back to the 1800s when hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment were used. When horses couldn't easily back up fire equipment into the station after a fire call,  the equipment was removed from the horses, and firefighters would push the equipment back into the bays by themselves. 

The new fire engine was built by Pierce Manufacturing in Bradenton, Florida, and seats five firefighters, carries roughly 2,000 feet of hose, has a 1,000 gallon water tank, and pumps 1,250 gallons of water per minute, Beldon explained.

He said how the services the fire department provides significantly changed over the past 20 years, saying how today's fire engines are a multi-purpose emergency vehicle, which, besides fighting fires, can carry needed medical equipment, rescue tools including Jaws of Life, water rescue gear, power saws and large fans to exhaust smoke and toxic gasses.

"Each fire engine has a service life of approximately 20 years and our old fire engine was built in 1995,  and has served us well over the last 27 years," Beldon said. "That old engine cost $122,000."

Beldon thanked those who assisted with the purchase of the new engine, including TC Energy, and Lincoln Township Board, who was able to provide enough funding to purchase much needed new equipment to place on the fire engine.

Lincoln Township Supervisor Mark Brock then said a blessing over the new fire engine, praying for safety and protection for all who use the fire engine and all who ride in it.

Members of the fire department then gathered around the back of the new engine and pushed it into the fire bay. Following the push-in ceremony, those present were invited to celebrate inside the station with snacks and light refreshments.