Lawrence officials dedicate new fire engine


The City of Lawrence celebrated its newest fire engine with a traditional “push-in” ceremony May 10 at Station 39.

Firefighters pushed Engine 39 into its bay at the station — the engine’s new home — after the front was washed down with some spray from a firehose.

Lawrence Fire Department Capt. Adam Reine explained the “push-in” ceremony and its historic significance.

“Back in the 1800s, when they didn’t have motorized vehicles or motorized fire engines, they had horse-drawn pumpers,” he said. “So, this kind of tradition started back then, and it’s always been in place ever since. We’ve carried it on through the motorized vehicle days. Basically, after a run, the firefighters would wash the horses and they would get them ready for the next run. That’s why we traditionally now, after the engine is blessed, we’re going to go ahead and wash down the front of the engine with water.”

The horses couldn’t back the pumper into its bay, he said, which is why the firefighters historically would push it into place.

Reine added that engines nowadays are much heavier than pumpers back in the 1800s, which is why one of Station 39’s firefighters started the engine and gave it a little gas to help get it into place.

Earlier in the ceremony, LFD Chief Bob Wallace thanked everyone who contributed to the new engine, including the citizens of Lawrence whose tax dollars funded its purchase and the firefighters who will use it.

“Even though this is a brand-new engine, where the real rubber meets the road is you guys — the firefighters,” he said. “If it wasn’t for your dedication, professionalism, courage, none of this stuff actually really matters. It’s you guys that make the difference and I appreciate it.”

Lawrence Mayor Deb Whitfield said she was pleased the city could provide what Lawrence firefighters need to protect its citizens.

“We still have a lot more that we’re working on to make sure that you can do your job efficiently, effectively,” she said. “Thank you so much for your time and your energy.”