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Lexington County “Pushes In” two new fire engines in rural portions of the county

Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County held a ceremony Thursday morning at the Pelion fire station to “Push In” its two newest fire trucks. “Pushing In” is an age old tradition where firefighters physically push the fire apparatus into the station that will house it. Although the tradition is so old that it dates back to the horse and buggy days, the two fire engine that were officially put in service Thursday are state-of-the-art trucks loaded down with the latest equipment.

One of the trucks is stationed at Pelion while the other will be at Sharpe’s Hill on SC Hwy. 6 between Swansea and Edmund. The placement of these trucks is significant because they were purchased by-in-large with CDBG or Community Development Block Grants from the Federal government. These funds are meant to assist communities and people who are of low to moderate income. Both of these areas are very rural and the hardworking people who live here are often of modest means. The grants saved Lexington County almost $1 million dollars when these two trucks were bought.

Lexington County Councilman Scott Whetstone of District One, the district that includes both of these areas, said before the ceremony that this was a phenomenal deal for the citizens of the county. “Without these grants, we would have had to delay replacing these trucks that were nearing the end of their service life or fund the new trucks from the fire service’s budget. With the assistance of these grants, we now have the absolute best equipment money can buy in these very rural areas with almost no expense to the taxpaying citizens of the county,” Whetstone said.

The two trucks were manufactured by Sutphen. Each can pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute and carry 1,000 gallons in their tanks. They have the latest 360 degree lighting packages that make them safer and much easier to be seen when they are crossing an intersection or in a position where a motorist might see only the side of the trucks. Assistant Fire Chief David Fulmer said that the fire service has even been able to stop putting onboard generators on the new trucks because the newer LED work-lights put out so much light that the generators aren’t necessary. This not only frees up more spaces in the bins for other equipment, it removes one more piece of motorized equipment that has to be maintained.

After all of the special guests from the town of Pelion and Lexington County had the opportunity to say a few words, the crowd of firefighters took over and pushed the trucks into the building to officially begin their duty. Because they are so large and heavy, the guys used the motors for a little assistance. They have actually been in service for about a month on what might be considered a “shakedown cruise” in order to make sure there were no issues with the trucks that needed to be addressed. No problems have been identified and both trucks are ready to run and have already responded to emergencies.

Lexington County Fire Chief Brad Cox said during the ceremony that as technology changes and the fire service grows, there’s always a need to replace old equipment with new. The receipt of the CDBG allow funds that might be earmarked for fire trucks to be used for other important equipment. The new trucks have an expected lifespan of twenty years so people in the streets of Lexington County should see them responding for many years to come.

The new trucks are currently staffed by two career firefighters that are backed up by crews from other stations and the volunteers that are in the area. Chief Fulmer said that the county plans to add one more firefighter to each of the crews soon.

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