Thursday was a big night for the BST&G Fire District, adding staff and equipment for the growing eastern portion of Delaware County.
“It’s a proud day for our fire district,” said Fire Chief Christopher Kovach. “The swearing in of our three newest full-time firefighters, and we dedicate the new engine 351 to the fire district. As the area continues to grow, we must continue to grow with them. The addition of these three firefighters ensures that we will continue to meet and exceed the needs of the fire district. With the support of the fire board, these firefighters now allow us to respond with two trucks simultaneously and will enable us to split crews to handle more than one emergency at a time. We welcome them with open arms.”
The three are: Mark Carey, a former captain of the Berlin Township FD who has been with BST&G part-time for a year; Christian McFarland, a lifelong resident of the area who has worked part-time with BST&G for a year; and Guy Hatfield, who started part-time two years ago and is a lifelong Sunbury resident and son of Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield.
Assistant Chief Rob Stambaugh handled the dedication of the new engine.
“For decades, firefighters have been welcoming new engines with a push-in ceremony,” Stambaugh said. “Horse-drawn engines had to be pushed into the stations, since it wasn’t practical to back a horse into the station. The tradition lives on even though the horse-drawn wagons that originally inspired them became obsolete.”
Getting a fire engine is a big deal, Stambaugh went on to say, involving a lot of time and money. Fire engines typically have a lifespan of 20 years — 10 in active use and 10 in reserve.
The new engine is Engine 351, dubbed “The Beast of the East.” It replaced the current Engine 351 (now 352) as that truck rotates to reserve status, where it remains fully-equipped and ready to go.
“The new one is an improvement,” Stambaugh said. “For example, it has better brakes, stronger engine and transmission, and better mirrors. But the engine holds 750 gallons of water, has a compressed air foam system, has a new feature called a green start energy management system, which drastically reduces the wear and tear of maintenance components and environment impact. It’s cutting-edge technology in every way to ensure a maximum lifespan of effectiveness.”
The engine was built by the Rosenbauer Company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Stambaugh said Rosenbauer is the largest fire truck company in the world, and this was the fire district’s third Rosenbauer.
With Kovach at the wheel, the firemen, fire board, and some community members then backed Engine 351 into the station bay as a sign of pride and unity.
Since 1953, the BST&G Fire District has served Berkshire and Trenton townships, and the villages of Galena and Sunbury.
“As you can see by the graphics on the truck, BST&G is proud of the communities that we serve,” Stambaugh said. “We will continue to train to be the absolute best fire department we can be for our residents.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.