SYCAMORE - At what already was slated to be the annual fire department meeting with the mayor, village council and the community, the Sycamore Fire Department had something else on the agenda - showing off its newly purchased fire truck.
The meeting Monday at Sycamore Fire Department originally was set to update the community on the previous year statistics and introduce new employees. The real excitement came after a meal, when members of the department invited those in attendance to take part in a ceremony to initiate new Engine 20 into the department and retire old Engine 20.
Fire Chief Bryan Clouse put the ceremony together based on practices at the turn of the century when wooden carts were pulled by horses. It began with former Chief Rod Clinger transferring the water from the old engine to the new, hooked up by Clouse.
PHOTO BY LILA CONLEY
Members of Sycamore Fire Department hold a ceremony to retire Engine 20 (right), during which they pumped the engine’s water into the new Engine 20.
"This part of the ceremony is the act of transferring old to new. Like many things in life, it is important not to forget the past. This water is ready to protect life and property" Clouse said before the transfer.
Next, rookies washed each wheel of the new truck.
"During the hub and spoke wooden wheels era, washing of the wheels kept them from drying out after a fire and cleaned the horse-drawn wagon before pushing it into the fire station" Clouse said.
After the wheels were washed, Clouse invited all of the firefighters and the community to help push the new fire truck back into the station.
Finally, Clinger rang the old station bell as notification that old Engine 20 had completed its service to the community and that new Engine 20 was ready to serve.
Engine 20 is going to replace old Engine 20 in Melmore. The new truck features more storage space than they have on any other truck, better communications options and a ladder that lowers swiftly at the flip of a switch. Mayor Matt Boucher, Clouse and the other firefighters could hardly contain their excitement. Training on the new truck has already begun.
"This is a huge deal for a village like Sycamore," Boucher said.