Chapel Hill welcomes new ladder truck

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Chapel Hill firefighters and their families take part in the tradition of “pushing in” the town’s new fire engine on Saturday as the department accepts the new ladder truck into the station. Inset: The department previewed the capacity of the new ladder truck on Friday for local children with a much appreciated shower on a hot day.
Tribune photos by Scott Pearson

The Chapel Hill Volunteer Fire Department officially welcomed a new piece of equipment on Saturday with a traditional “pushing in” ceremony at the fire hall.

The town has added a new fire engine with a 75 foot aerial ladder to the department.

“The citizens of Chapel Hill can sleep well at night,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Danny Bingham, with the level of fire protection that the department can deliver.

“This equipment, along with our dedicated fire department personnel, positions the town to handle the fire and rescue opportunities that tremendous growth is bringing to our area,” said Bingham.

Fire Chief Matt Stout said that adding the new engine had been in discussion for a couple of years.

The engine has the capability to replace a 1987 pumper truck, that can now be placed in reserve, while also, with extra storage capacity, potentially filling the role of the department’s rescue truck as well, Stout said.

The ladder fills a need that the department needs now, as well.

Stout said that Chapel Hill already has roofs the department can’t reach, much less with the additional development forecast for the town over the next few years.

The tradition of “pushing in” a new fire truck dates back to the days of horse-drawn fire wagons. After unhitching the horses, firemen would wash the mud off of the wagon before pushing it into the station. The practice has evolved into a ceremony for any fire department to accept a new engine.

The $600,000 ladder truck, and the expansion into the former Caney Spring fire hall, improves fire response for the entire Chapel Hill area.

“We are positioned to handle the current and future needs of our citizens in the Chapel Hill area,” said Bingham.