Lisbon’s new fire truck, still at the Pierce factory in Wisconsin, is Moxie orange and black. Lisbon Fire Department photo

LISBON — Lisbon’s newest fire truck comes with a color scheme inspired by a beverage beloved in Maine.

A box of Moxie soda sits on the step of Lisbon’s new Moxie orange fire engine in Wisconsin last week. Lisbon Fire Department photo

The engine is described as “Moxie orange” — the color matches that of the soda’s can. The soft drink, known for its aftertaste, is celebrated in Lisbon celebrates with a parade and festival every year.

The new truck signals the end of a decades-long dispute over the color of the department’s fire trucks. In the late 1970s, a disagreement between Lisbon’s fire chief and the Lisbon Falls Fire Co. over whether trucks should be red or green received widespread coverage, including in some national newspapers, according to Lisbon Fire Chief Nathan LeClair.

“Over the past 20 years it’s just been there, sort of like a blemish on your face you just can’t get rid of,” LeClair said.

The ET Smith Hose Co. in Lisbon village went with lime green trucks and Lisbon Falls Fire Co. went with red. 

About five years ago a committee looking at the fire department’s future decided that any new trucks would be Moxie orange. Most firefighters support the plan, LeClair said.

When the town was looking to purchase two trucks 15 years ago, Lisbon firefighters raised the idea of going with Moxie orange, LeClair said. However, town officials didn’t support the move.

The fight over the color of the fire trucks stemmed from tradition and the wish to make the trucks as visible as possible. Today’s emergency lighting and reflective decals are reducing the importance of paint color, LeClair said, adding that a fire truck will put out a fire the same way, no matter what color it’s painted.

The department traded in its 1994 fire engine for the new Pierce engine, which is costing the town $674,575. Lisbon Town Manager Diane Barnes said the town is not burrowing any money for the fire truck. Half of the money will come from the fire truck reserve account and the other half from the town’s Dingley Press tax increment financing reserve account, she said.

Many residents got their first sneak peek at the new truck when LeClair posted photos on the department’s Facebook page.

“There’s a lot of people out there that love the idea,” LeClair said. “It’s really about the community pride.”

The new truck is tentatively scheduled to arrive in Lisbon in March and will be based at the Lisbon Falls fire station.

“Within our fire service community we’ve had a lot of people over the years think we were two different fire departments,” he said. “We’re one fire department and we need to be one fire department.”

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