BUCKFIELD – The town’s new Smeal fire engine arrived in Buckfield on July 12, after a year of anticipation by Fire Chief Steve Bly and his 17 firefighters.

The new Engine 3 is a state-of-the-art truck, said Assistant Fire Chief Tim Brooks, and will be the “attack” engine because it will be the first to roll to a structure fire.

It can carry six firefighters in the cab, and can pump 1,250 gallons a minute from 10 hoses controlled from the pump panel deck. From this deck, the operator stands in front of what looks like the flight deck of an aircraft, and can pull levers to open any or all of the 10 hoses. The engine can also carry piped-on foam.

The engine’s hydraulic ladder lift will help save the backs of firefighters. Its 98-foot extension ladder, 14-foot roof ladder and 10-foot attic ladder can be operated by with the press of a button. The vehicle will carry two pike poles for tearing inside walls.

Six firefighters are now trained to drive the truck, and all have been recently trained in the equipment.

The engine was built by Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. of Snyder, Neb., and bought through New England Fire Equipment and Apparatus Corp. in North Haven, Conn. The new engine joins two pumpers, one forestry truck and one tanker in the station.

Funds for the new engine were approved at last year’s town meeting. Since 1996 the town had been putting $10,000 to $35,000 a year in an account to purchase the new engine, and the fund had grown to $100,000 by last year. Residents voted to borrow the additional $140,000 over 4 years, and bids were requested.

Although the Fire Department applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, it was denied for the second year in a row. Since the second grant denial, some firefighters have attended grant-writing classes sponsored by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

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