By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
A group of about 40 people shoved a wet fire engine into the Central Station bays Wednesday.
As they pushed, the weight of the truck struck the concrete lip beyond the bay doors' opening and halted. But they pushed harder and accomplished their task of placing the vehicle into its future holding space. Grabbing towels, the group - firefighters, community leaders and residents - began to wipe the vehicle clean.
"We are having way too much fun," said Coryell County Judge John Firth as he collected water by rubbing a towel in circles on the truck.
The group's efforts were part of the Copperas Cove Fire Department's traditional wetting-down ceremony for the station's newest vehicle.
This $465,000 truck - when donned with equipment - is for the residents, and this ceremony lets the residents know it is theirs, said CCFD Chief Mike Baker.
"It is a tradition that goes back to the days of horse-drawn carriages," Baker said. "It is a fun tradition and it allows the community to get involved."
Firefighters used to wash their fire carriages and their horses before taking them back into the station. Since the horses were washed separately, the firefighters had to push their wagon-wheeled apparatus into the station, he said.
Baker was glad to see so many public officials and residents come to help carry on the
tradition. Among them were Mayor John Hull, District Attorney David Castillo, chamber President Marty Smith and City Manager Andrea Gardner.
"We are one city, one team," Baker said.
For Castillo, the ceremony was a great tradition for the city to continue because of the residents' involvement and the fire department's desire to have residents participate.
"It lets them see how the money is being spent," Castillo said. "I enjoyed it. I am glad I came down and I wish we could have more like it."
Before the ceremony took place, Baker and Hull both spoke about the truck and thanked everyone for coming.
"This is a great occasion; we don't get to wet down a new truck very often," Hull said.
The truck was put into service about two weeks ago, Baker added.
"It is a very nice truck, and we are very proud of it, and glad the community paid for it," Baker said. "The community has been a tremendous support for the Fire Department."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.