MOREHEAD CITY — A new fire truck came home Saturday to Morehead City Station 1 on Bridges Street during a formal “wetdown” ceremony that also included the promotion of four department members.
“This is a very special day for us,” said City Fire Chief Jamie Fulk. “We will have new leadership and new apparatus.”
The wetdown ceremony is a tradition where new fire apparatus is commissioned by anointing it with water sprayed from firefighting equipment.
Chief Fulk said the new truck, a Pierce Velocity FR, came with a lot of effort by many people. He thanked those who helped design the truck and city officials for making it possible. The truck, paid for by tax dollars, cost $547,000.
Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones, a 21-year veteran of the fire department, said it is always an honor for him to see firefighters get the equipment they need.
“This fire department was started 107 years ago by commitment-minded citizens,” he said. “They had no equipment, no station, no training and no money, but they had passion. Just as we see here today, that passion and commitment still prevail.”
According to Chad Holland, regional account manager for Pierce, the new fire truck is the first of its kind in the area.
“The truck is a Pierce Ultimate Configuration, the first one ever made with a forward roof,” he said. “This will be a little bit of history for Morehead City.”
The truck can seat six firefighters, already in full gear including tanks. It is also the first in the area designated a pump and roll truck. A turret mounted to the front bumper of the truck will spray water while the truck is in motion. Air bags line the cab of the truck and an independent front suspension allows for greater maneuverability.
Before the formal “wet down” ceremony, Chief Fulk and Capt. Jack Manley promoted four department members to new ranks. Capt. Manley pointed out the Fire Department responded to 3,000 calls in 2012 that included, but were not limited to, fires, medical responses or vehicle accidents.
“These men and women aspire to be the best,” he said. “But, they also accept the reality of the risks.”
As he called each name, family members came forward to pin the recipients with their new rank badges.
Firefighter/Paramedic Kelly Urban was promoted to EMS Coordinator. Firefighter EMTs Brandon Doshier, Edward “Ned” Willet and Joshua Hassell were all promoted to lieutenant.
The ceremony concluded with the traditional dispatch call of the new truck to the station and the wetdown.
At 10:30 a. m. the new truck was dispatched to the station by E911 dispatcher Ed Wallace. With lights and sirens blaring, the truck rolled into the station parking lot where trucks and firefighters from Atlantic Beach along with citizens participated in wetting down the truck.
Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Dykeman Bailey blessed the new truck.
“And may the truck and crew never be placed in harms way,” he prayed.