GREEN  In the earliest days of the fire service, volunteer departments returning from a fire would wash down both the hand operated water pumper and the horses pulling it before pushing the pumper back into the station.

While the Green Fire Department’s new $644,000, state-of-the-art pumper came with a few more bells and whistles than those turn-of-the-20th century models, and there were no horses in sight the a crowd of close to 75 residents and city officials took part in a ceremonial washing of the new fire truck April 6.

Deb Breon attended the event with her grandchildren, including 3-year-old Keegan, who was celebrating a firetruck themed birthday the next day and loved "the big fire truck" and "the ambulance."

"He knows his fire trucks," Breon laughed.

Meanwhile, Rylan Canter, 12, said he found it interesting how all the tools and axes on the pumper are labeled for easy identification.

Green Fire Chief Jeffrey Funai said the new pumper replaces a 28-year-old model.

"So it was time," Funai said.

A state of the art machine

Prior to the ceremonial truck washing, Funai said the city’s investment in the pumper represents an effort to maintain "the equipment we need to keep our community safe."

"We are so proud of this truck," Funai said. "As you know, we don’t have fire hydrants in all parts of the city. This truck is specially built to carry 2,500 gallons of water and is powered by a 450 horsepower Cummins engine and has a Tak-4 independent suspension system."

This responsive suspension system, Funai said, both shortens stopping distances and increases load carrying capacity, making for a vehicle that is safer for both firefighters and the public.

"All told, this is an impressive piece of firefighting equipment," Funai said.

Mayor Gerard Neugebauer recognized and thanked the city administration and council, as well as the fire department fire truck specifications team of Brandon Beeson, T.J. Ganoe, Justin Pratt, and Randy Raines.

Neugebauer noted that the new truck would play a dual role, as both a tanker and a pumper, vital to a "suburban rural community" like Green.

"We will also be expanding to three fire stations by this fall," Neugebauer said. "As mayor, I am also the city’s safety director and I know the department is being provided the right tools to do its job. This investment will benefit businesses and residents of the city for the next three decades."

First wash

Following a blessing of the truck by Green Fire Department Chaplain Terry Smith, Nuegebauer and City Councilwoman Barbara Babbitt grabbed hoses and hit the new pumper with the first blasts of its ceremonial bath – but not before briefly turning the hoses on one another to the delight of the crowd.

Then several dozen fire helmeted children and their parents took to scrubbing the new pumper down, until it was ready to be rolled back into the station, officially in service and ready for its first runs.