PCB Fire puts new engine into service
The Panama City Beach Fire Rescue officially put its new fire engine into service Tuesday, October 22 after a traditions-old wet-down and push-in ceremony.
The ceremony, held at Station 31 at the Municipal Complex, included using the water and fire hose from the old fire engine, a 1996 model truck with 150,000 miles, to wash down the wheel wells of the new truck. Firefighters and City Council members then pushed the new custom-built pumper into the station as both a symbol of unity and for good luck. The tradition dates back to a time when fire trucks were pulled by horses and later were powered by steam.
Deputy Chief Ray Morgan said for many the fire truck is a symbol of public service. He noted that many of those who choose the firefighting profession were fascinated with fire trucks as children.
"The fire engine is symbolic of something bigger than ourselves," Morgan said. "Technically a truck is anything you can put firemen, hose, and water on to go serve the public. The key word is serve. This new truck is a tribute to the firefighters of this City. A fire truck represents the firefighter's chariot.
"When the department gets a call, the people on the other end expect to be served. Nothing symbolizes our department more to me than a fire truck going down Back Beach Road. It's personal. It's not just a truck. Firefighters are passionate about their jobs. They put everything they can into their jobs to help the people of the community. For people awaiting help, a firetruck is a symbol of hope."
The new fire engine was delivered to the City last month. With a more compact and efficient design, the truck will be used at Station 32 on Hutchison Boulevard. The smaller size of the truck makes it more efficient for use in congested areas. Morgan said the truck took nine months to build.
Over the years, the Fire Department's call volume has steadily increased. In 2018, the department answered 4,867 calls for service. In 2009, the department handled 3,493 calls, a 39 percent increase over 10 years with just two stations. The City is currently constructing a third station on Nautilus Street. It will be open in 2020.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100, Ext. 2261.