As the eight Emery County Town Fire Chiefs parked, prepared and polished their new fire engines at the Ghost Rocks Rest Stop on Interstate 70, it was easy to see that the event held on Saturday, April 2 was more than just a photo shoot for the volunteer staff of the Emery County Fire District, it was a new beginning of sorts.
Eight state-of-the-art engines, one for every town in Emery County, had been brought together to celebrate the culmination of what had been a long and involved process to acquire the engines that they had long hoped for, to assist in fighting the hated blazes to which they respond.
Despite having hours of expert training, and the best of intentions, a few years ago the engines used by the volunteers at all of the fire stations in Emery County were old, and threatening to not pass pump testing. In fact, many of the towns had engines from the 70s and 80s. This was a subject often discussed by the chiefs at their weekly meetings. Eventually they decided to do the impossible, to ask for funding for eight new identical engines, and that was not all, they wanted to engineer the best, not just some “cookie-cutter rig” as they said.
So, putting together a proposal, finding a company that could engineer the engines they needed for years to come, and with the assistance of the Emery County Commissioners, they took the idea to the Utah Community Impact Board to ask for help with the funding. Past Commissioner Gary Kofford revealed that at first, the Board balked at the idea, saying that maybe four new engines would suffice, but he went in knowing that eight new engines were needed, and eventually they got what they needed.
The Board granted a 50 percent matching grant for the new trucks, which each cost approximately $300,000. The rest of the funding came from the Fire District itself, which had put away money over the years for the new engines, and the County. The town chiefs worked constantly with the builder as the engines were constructed, and the first truck arrived in October, 2010. Then, with the last engine coming in January, their dream was finally a reality, and the event on Saturday, with the eight trucks lined up, polished and shining was a fitting ending.