COPPERAS COVE — The ritualistic “wet down” ceremony for two new fire engine brush trucks took place Friday at the city’s main fire station.

The tradition stems from the 1700s when water pumps were operated by hand and water was carried in buckets to fight fires, said Fire Chief Burney Baskett.

“It goes back to the bucket brigade when everything was operated by manpower and water was precious and could not be wasted,” Baskett said. “They would pour water from the truck being replaced into the next truck being used.”

The tradition is to wet down the new truck with water and have everyone in the community wipe it down and push it back into the garage.

About 25 residents came out to help with two new trucks that are each equipped with 250-gallon water tanks and 20-gallon foam tanks. The cost of each truck is $159,206 for a total of $319,912.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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