Rockport firefighters didn’t waste any time inspecting the town’s newest Engine 23 as it pulled into the Public Safety Building just after 9 p.m., June 22. They had been waiting for Fire Chief Jason Peasley to arrive, who had picked up the new truck in Brunswick. In South Thomaston, a similar scene was unfolding, where firefighters there were waiting for Chief Bryan Calderwood to pull into the station with that town’s newest firetruck.
Earlier in the evening, Calderwood had ridden down to Brunswick with Peasley, surprising his town’s firefighters with the announcement that he would be bringing South Thomaston’s new Engine 53 back later that night.
At 8 p.m., both Calderwood and Peasley claimed their town’s new engines in a Brunswick parking lot where they sat with several other new firetrucks, all destined for various Maine communities. They had been driven east from Hamburg, New York to Brunswick. E-One was the manufacturer for the new trucks, and their chassis construction actually began more than a year ago in a Florida manufacturing facility, before moving to the New York plant and outfitted with stainless steel cabs and tanks.
The construction of fire engines is a methodical, meticulous process, and because Rockport and South Thomaston had submitted custom requests, their ultimate arrival at their respective fire stations is a big deal.
New firetrucks are also major investments for small towns like South Thomaston and Rockport. Rockport spent $400,000 on the Engine 23, and has been saving up money every year, as do most Maine towns, which regularly replace their fire apparatus. South Thomaston paid $350,000 for its Engine 53. Both are 2015 Class A pumpers.
The average tenure of a firetruck in a municipality is 28 to 30 years, and fire departments keep regular schedules for updating and upgrading their equipment.
Both of the new trucks for Rockport and South Thomaston are E-One’s classic Typhoon pumpers, though custom-built to each town’s specifications.
South Thomaston’s cab is 12 inches higher than Rockport, for the sake of visibility. It is also able to sit six firefighters.
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