Wetting it Down

Former Fire Chief Chris Johnson “wets down” the new fire truck the Orange City Fire Department recently acquired.

The Orange City Fire Department is proud of its latest addition – a 2020 Pierce Fire Truck, which is housed at Station 68 on Harley Strickland Boulevard.

A “wet down” ceremony was conducted Friday, Oct. 2, at Station 215 on North Holly Avenue.

“We hooked the hose up to the old truck to spray on the new truck,” said Fire Chief Ronnie Long, who has been with the department for 27 years, the last five as chief.

“It’s a ceremony (departments do) to christen the apparatus,” Chief Long said. “It basically ushers out the old truck and brings in the new truck.”

He said the fire truck is a “specialty type engine that helps serve the community with technical rescue equipment,” such as rope rescue, vehicle extractions and structural collapse.

“Proud, it’s a good moment for our department,” he said of the acquisition. “This is the second time we have done this.”

More than 30 fire department employees and city staff attended the wet down. Danielle FitzPatrick, public information coordinator, was there.

“It was my first time actually spraying the hose,” Ms. FitzPatrick said. “They made it easy for us. You have someone telling you what to do in-between the spray down.”

She said after wetting the truck down, everyone polished it dry.

Chief Long said the tradition started in the 1800s when a steam engine was pulled by horses. He said in those days the old one was backed up to the new one, and they would take buckets, dip them into the old water and put it into the new truck. While doing that, water would spill over the new truck.

He said the Orange City Fire Department also is the contract agency with the City of DeBary, which has one fire station. Also, the city responds to an unincorporated area of Volusia County, which is about 17 square miles. Orange City is about eight square miles. He said the department was just shy of running 7,000 calls last year.

Chief Long said the Orange City Fire Department has been around since 1890 and operated as an all-volunteer unit until 1985.

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