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Fire Department unveils new Engine 5 at Station 5

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

For the first time in a long time, the Cape Coral Fire Department put a new apparatus into service Monday at Station 5 on Diplomat Parkway that was purchased with Fire Service Assessment funds.

Because it is the first, Chief Donald Cochran believed a public ceremony to “house” the new Engine 5 was warranted.

“A lot of hard work and effort went into purchasing new equipment through the Fire Service Assessment by staff and City Council,” said Cochran. “I want to thank them for that and the citizens of Cape Coral. This is the first step in restoring the department to full sustainability.”

The new Engine 5 replaces a unit that served for 25 years, far beyond its normal life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, Cochran said.

“My first eight years with the department I served on that truck,” he said. “It’s like part of the family. We just sold that truck. Many of our guys will serve as much as a third of their career on the same apparatus.”

The new engine replaces the truck that served the department for 25 years. That older engine had been a backup for the current Engine 5, which will now become a reserve.

The new Engine 5, which cost about $500,000, was filled with water from the most recent Engine 5 representing a seamless transition of service. The old engine will be put into reserve status as a backup unit after making some repairs. The new unit’s wheels were washed, a tradition dating back to the days when an apparatus had wood wheels that had to be washed to prevent deterioration.

After a traditional rinsing to signify the engine’s first bath and a radio dispatch activation announcement, the engine was pushed into the station bay by personnel, including Chief Cochran, in a “housing and bell” ceremony. In the horse-drawn apparatus days, upon returning from a call, the horses were unhitched and the apparatus pushed into the station house bay.

“Over the next 18 months we will receive six new trucks,” said Cochran. “That should get us to where we need to be and I can sleep better at night.”

Prior to the FSA, the city provided funding capital for new equipment only upon failure during the economic downturn when the city abandoned all capital improvement funding.

“I want to ensure that our firefighters know when they are working inside a structure fire that the equipment they are using will perform as expected,” Cochran said. “I also want the citizens of Cape Coral to be secure in their knowledge that the apparatus responding to their emergency is reliable and will get them the help that they need safely and without delay.”