Firefighters have a long and proud history, one which Brighton Area Firefighters honored with push-in ceremonies at Station 31, Station 32 and Station 35 to welcome two new tankers and a new ladder truck on Monday night.
Brighton Deputy Chief Matt Evans explained to friends and family who gathered for the ceremony at , located in downtown Brighton, where the tradition came from.
"It comes from a time when fire engines were drawn by horses," Evans said. "And horses would not go in reverse so they had to unhook the horses and push the fire wagon into the station. In the fire service we try to hold onto some of those traditions that we hold near and dear to us. It is important to remember where we came from as we move forward using technology that allows us to be safer and more efficient in conducting our jobs."
The Brighton Area Fire Authority purchased and paid for all three vehicles up front, with the two tankers costing $363,278 each and the ladder truck costing $1,044,998.
According to Brighton Fire Chief Mike O'Brian, Brighton was able to save $355,108 on the ladder truck by bidding together with multiple communities, resulting in massive savings on fire trucks for all departments. Some of the departments included the Hartland-Deerfield Fire Authority, City of Northville, City of Birmingham, City of Troy, Clearwater Township and Grand Blanc.
O'Brian said a cooperative apparatus purchase with that many communities has never been done in this area before.
"Basically we got a big conglomerate and bought fire trucks - which is unheard of," O'Brian said. "Usually when you wanted a fire truck, you went out and bought yours. We went out and bought in bulk. It's the Costco version, let's say, of buying fire trucks. We were able to save about $350,000 which is a big thing because one of our tankers was about $350,000. Being able to do that allowed us to expand our capabilities and put more water on the roads. When we get outside the city, we need these tankers."
The new ladder truck will be replacing the 23-year-old previous truck at Station 31. It is not yet in service, but O'Brian said he expects it to be ready around mid-August, early September after more training is completed.
The new truck slightly different, in that it is a mid-mount, meaning the ladder is mounted in the middle as opposed to the rear, O'Brian explained. It is also the heaviest truck the fire authority has ever purchased, weighing more than 82,000 pounds.
"The ladder itself is shorter initially - the sections," he said. "So it allows us to get around the wires and some of the tight areas downtown. It also allows us to go a little bit lower in grade, believe it or not. The other one, we had to back into a lot of fires, just to get the range we needed. This one, we don't have to back in. We can nose right in."
The two new tanker trucks will be stationed at Station 32 on Old US-23 and Station 35 on Chilson Road and are in service as of Monday night.