Engine/Tanker 82 has finally left the Union Bridge fire station for the last time. Its new home will be in Plymouth, Iowa. Nearly 7 weeks after negotiations for the apparatus sale began, Fire Chief Joe Rowe and EMS Captain Jeff Eastman flew into BWI on the evening of March 4th, ready to drive Engine/Tanker 82 back to their home station. Assistant Chief Harris picked them up from a hotel near the airport on the morning of March 5th so they could inspect and accept the unit as their own.
Engine/Tanker 82 served our company well for 25 years. Purchased in 1991 with then Chief Jim Harris signing the acceptance paperwork, its first major fire response was only a month after it went in-service, for a tire dump fire in Inwood, West Virginia, nearly one and a half hours away. The initial designation for the unit was "Engine 82" and it was placed in-service in March of 1991. Since then, it has been used as a first due engine, transfer engine and a tanker for many incidents in Carroll and Frederick Counties. A poly-tank, direct tank fills and gravity dump were added in the late 90's. At the time of its purchase, it was one of the first enclosed cab units in the region, capable of carrying 10 firefighters to incidents without anyone standing on tailboards or jump-seats. This was in response to the tragic 'Line Of Duty' loss of a firefighter in Walkersville who fell off of a tailboard while responding to a call in 1987.
At around 8:30 AM, Chief Rowe and EMS Captain Eastman began looking over the unit. Members showed them all of the features the unit had available and provided instructions on the specific operational features. Time was taken to check the pump operation and they were shown a large compliment of equipment and tools, including hose, a portable water tank, SCBA, hose fittings and much more, that were included with the purchase.
The last Union Bridge Fire Company member to drive the unit was Fleet Manager/Engineer Archy Jones.At 11:00 AM, after all of the paperwork was completed by Assistant Chief Chris Harris and Chief Rowe, well wishes were exchanged and Engine/Tanker 82 left the fire station for the last time with Chief Rowe in the driver’s seat. It was the beginning of their 1,100 mile trip back to Iowa. The unit will be replacing a 1968 Ford fire engine.
Mixed feelings were felt among the members present. We were glad to see that the unit was going to a new home, but sad to see it leave. We hope that this unit and its equipment can serve the volunteers in Plymouth as good as it had served us.
Farewell and Good Luck “Engine 82”!!!!!
UPDATE - Engine/Tanker 82 arrived in Plymouth, Iowa at about 7:30 AM on Monday 3/6/17. Joe said that they had a good trip with no problems at all. Members of their fire company were introduced to the unit during a special meeting at 6:30 that evening.