SPEARFISH — A brand new custom-built Rosenbauer Timberwolf fire engine was delivered to the Spearfish Fire Department Friday welcomed into it’s new home at Station No. 3 in a ceremony that harkens back to the early, horse-drawn days of fire fighting.

“When (firefighters) would come back from a fire, they had to disconnect the horses and put the horses back in the stable, and they had to push the fire truck back into the station, which signified that the fire truck is home,” Assistant Fire Chief Rob Mathis explained.

The symbolic ceremony was carried out by members of the Spearfish Fire Department who gathered at Station No. 3 to help push the $419,000 piece of equipment into the garage where it will be stationed.

“It symbolizes that this is a new piece of apparatus and the station that it’s being pushed into; that is its home,” Mathis said.

As part of the ceremony, Gerald Draine, the senior member of the station, took the engine’s driver’s seat to guide the vehicle into its spot in the garage.

“He’s not only the senior member of the department assigned to 

Station No. 3, he is the longest seated member of the fire department,” Mathis said of Draine. “It’s basically like a respect thing he’s the senior guy, put him in the truck.” 

Mathis said the type three, urban interface engine was designed to be used on any call that the Spearfish Fire Department might need to answer.

“So it’s capable of wild land firefighting as well as structural firefighting,” he said.

Purchase of the engine was approved by the city council and the order was placed in January 2018. The truck is capable of carrying 750 gallons of water and will be able to deploy fire-suppressing foam as well. Several elements of the truck were customized to Mathis’ specifications to help maximize the department’s ability and comfort while responding to calls.

“It was a reality at one time and now it’s a tradition that gets carried on,” Mathis said. “Since I’ve been here this will be the first push in.”

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