Grand Island Fire Department welcomed a new rescue pumper for Station 3 Wednesday. R-3, or the new Rescue 3, will serve both GIFD and Hall County.
The $503,128 investment has been three years in the making with the aim of helping GIFD in many ways.
Some of its modern features include: a compressed air foam system, 1,250 gallon per minute pump, LED warning lights, roll over protection, a 500 gallon water tank, a date recording system and more.
GIFD firefighters honored an old tradition they say many rescue workers use on the East Coast. Firefighters say the "wash–in" ceremony is symbolic of blessing the truck and now they're ready to put it to work.
Minister Jose Flores began the ceremony with prayer, remembering the victims and rescue workers of the Sept. 11 attacks. He then blessed the new R-3.
GIFD firefighter Bryan Stutzman was involved in designing the truck for three years. He said it was an honor to put it to use on Patriots Day.
Stutzman said, "It's pretty special; it's a day where over time people kind of forget about, but those 343 guys – men and women that put their lives on the line – it's something we do. It means a lot."
The new vehicle is a dramatic improvement compared to the old R-3 that was retired on Wednesday. That truck was brought to the station in 1990.
"We have tanks where we can get in our gear, when we get there we hit the release and come right out. We're strapped to our gear and the chair," said Stutzman about the time-saving features.
Another modern feature no other truck in Grand Island has, is a light tower that can light up an entire city block and is remote controlled.