Sometimes, you just need a little shove to get going.
In the case of Spokane Valley Fire Department’s newest apparatus, Rescue 8, that push came from about two dozen friends last week.
The fire department held a “housing ceremony” at its Station 8, located at Wilbur and Montgomery, on Dec. 23. The tradition dates back to the 1800s, when fire-suppression equipment was pulled by horses and could not be backed into fire stations without human help.
|The newest addition to the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s fleet, Rescue 8, was dedicated into service last week during a special “housing ceremony” that involved members of the community pushing the big rig into the firehouse. Photo by: Mike Huffman
Since the new Rescue 8 is replacing the department’s “heavy rescue” rig that served the community for several years without fail, Valley Fire officials thought it would be appropriate for a bit of pomp-and-circumstance to dedicate the truck.
Chief Mike Thompson, the master of ceremonies for the event, said that without community support – especially during the time of maintenance-and-operation levy elections – the department could not continue to exist.
“It’s a community event,” Thompson said. “The community supports this fire department. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have this equipment to provide the level of service we do.”
Gordon Schoonmaker, fleet operations supervisor, expressed pride over the 33-foot long, 9-foot-9-inches tall new acquisition, which was delivered at the end of November.
“We’ve got everything loaded,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s ready to go into service.”
Before the rig was pushed into the fire station bay, the SVFD Honor Guard and Pipe and Drum Corps played.
After a few grunts from those doing the heavy lifting, the truck began to roll. After safely parked in Station 8, an announcement came from dispatch over the radio system – “Rescue 8 in service” – to the cheers of those in attendance.
In other Valley Fire news, the department’s board of commissioners unanimously agreed to have low-bidder Meridian Construction build a new administration building next to Station 8 for $3,736,000, about $264,000 under budget.
Larry Rider, deputy chief, said that after a meeting with Meridian officials it was determined the company will be “responsible to the bid” and costs should not increase. Groundbreaking should occur by the end of February, Rider said.
“We’re not in any hurry,” he said. “It depends on the weather.”
Plans are for a two-story structure that will replace the existing administration building at Station 1, located at Balfour and Sprague across from University City, which the department has outgrown.
Meridians will also do some remodeling at the training tower off of Sullivan on Marietta.