CONYERS — The Rockdale County Fire Department held a traditional washing down and pushing of a new fire engine into its station Thursday morning.
The new Engine 8 was washed down by its predecessor during a brief ceremony in the parking lot of the Rockdale Career Academy, and then escorted to Station 8 at 1164 Scott St. in Conyers (next to the current Conyers City Hall complex), where firefighters pushed it into its bay.
Fire Chief Dan Morgan said both the wash down and push are traditions.
“The fire service has many traditions,” Morgan said. “Many of them involve the vehicles we use to protect the community. Today’s dedication of this new apparatus will use water, the substance that firefighters have used for centuries to combat fire.”
The origin of pushing a fire truck into the station dates back to the time of horse drawn equipment. Firefighters had to push the fire pumpers into the fire station because horses were incapable of backing the equipment, and it signifies the engine is ready for service.
Morgan said the arrival of Engine 8 will start a domino effect that will end with the oldest engine in the fleet being sold.
“The new engine becomes Engine 8 and the current Engine 8 will replace the next oldest one currently in service, with an appropriate change in number,” Morgan said. “That one will go into reserve, and then one of our old reserves, which we’re actually using as a training truck right now, will be surplussed.”
The Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $527,755.71 from Sutphen Corporation in March 2019 for the truck, the third new fire engine purchased by Rockdale County in the last 18 months. The first two were purchases with SPLOST funds; and this one was paid for out of the county’s operating budget.
It takes 12-14 months for a new fire engine to be built to specifications.
“This particular vehicle is based on the two we received last year,” Morgan said. “It pumps 2,000 gallons a minute, has all the latest safety equipment, has an onboard generator, and has a lot of tools on it. It sounds complicated, but it has a very simple goal and that is to protect the citizens and residents of Rockdale County.”
BOC Chairman Oz Nesbitt took part in the ceremony and said public safety has been the No. 1 goal of the commissioners.
“This is another exciting day for the citizens of Rockdale County as we continue to put public safety first and make it our top priority for all of the citizens,” Nesbitt said. “We’re excited to know that this new engine will be in one of our busiest fire stations.”