NEWELL - Like the toy fire truck of a little boy's dreams, Engine 74 is shiny enough, new enough and fancy enough to fulfill the wish list of any fire department in West Virginia - paid or volunteer.
"It's a very nice truck," Newell Assistant Fire Chief Tim Steele said on Monday. "Compared to the last truck we had, this one rides like a Cadillac. And it'll turn on a dime."
The pumper rescue truck, delivered on Sunday, was on order for almost a year and is the latest addition to the fleet of the Newell Volunteer Fire Department.
NEW PUMPER TRUCK — The Newell Volunteer Fire Department’s new pumper rescue truck sits in front of the station on Washington Street on Monday. Firefighters picked it up in Springfield, Ohio, on Sunday. The new truck has a computerized pump panel, among other amenities and safety features. -- Stephen Huba
At a price tag of $431,000, Engine 74 replaces a 1995 two-man rescue pumper that the department sold to a volunteer fire department in Downs, Kan., last year.
The 2012 truck, manufactured by the Sutphen Corp. of Dublin, Ohio, has all the latest amenities and safety features - an enclosed cab with seating for eight, a computerized pump panel, a 1,000-gallon tank, capacity to pump 1,750 gallons a minute, a 20-gallon Class A foam tank, air conditioning, secure storage space for helmets and air bottles, a remote control deluge gun and a rumbler siren.
The latter is a siren that motorists and pedestrians can not only hear but feel. "It sends out pulse waves," Steele said.
The 21.5-ton truck, with a 65-gallon gas tank, joins a fleet that includes a 1999 pumper, a 1988 pumper, a 1994 tanker, a 2002 quick-response truck, a river rescue boat and two smaller boats, Steele said.
"It'll be very beneficial not only to us but also to the entire community," Steele said. "We feel it's a great upgrade for the department - a much-needed upgrade. It means better fire protection and EMS service for the residents of Newell."
The department began planning for the replacement truck about a year ago, with representatives attending the Pittsburgh Fire Rescue & EMS Expo and talking to dealers. The department placed an order with the Sutphen Corp. and submitted a list of specifications.
Firefighters who picked the truck up on Sunday received three hours of in-service training from Sutphen.
"They went over every inch of that truck with us," Steele said.
In addition to the Sutphen chassis and body, the truck has tool mounts and shelves manufactured and installed by Fire & Marine Inc., of Springfield, Ohio.
To pay for the truck, the department held its first-ever Jeep Wrangler and cash giveaway in November. Although it didn't quite meet expectations, the event raised money toward the purchase of the truck and laid the groundwork for what officials hope will be an annual event - the Fall Frenzy.
The department also obtained bank financing and received donations from several local organizations and companies - the East Liverpool-Fawcett Community Foundation, Ergon-West Virginia Inc., Shell Lubricants, the Homer Laughlin China Co., and Linde Gas.
"If it weren't for organizations and businesses being so generous, it would have been a lot tougher than it was for us," Chief Scott Wilson said.
The department continues to hold its weekly bingo fundraiser at the Wells Building at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday and plans to introduce a "mega bingo" event on March 2.
A special fundraiser, featuring the band 7% Superstar, is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 9 at Moose Lodge 122 in East Liverpool. Cost is a $5 donation.
The 2013 Fall Frenzy is scheduled for Nov. 27, with first prize being a 2013 Dodge Ram pickup truck from C. Hackett Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Tickets are $20 each.
(Huba can be contacted at email@example.com)