New tower truck, engine to enhance Osceola County’s public safety

A ceremony for a new tower truck and fire engine that will enhance public safety in district 1 was held at Station 72 in Celebration on Tuesday, Osceola County officials said.

The two pieces of apparatus represent a $1.7 million investment in public safety. Following the current standard, the new Pierce Impel pumper will result in increased reliability, added features and lower maintenance costs as it replaces an older model with 14 years of service and 230,000 miles on its odometer. The tower truck, with aerial ladder/platform, replaces a 16-year old unit that has logged 315,000 miles. The tower is a critical piece of fire-fighting equipment that can be used for elevated rescues and as a working platform with two nozzles to apply water to a fire.

“It’s important to me that our homes, property and lives are safe. That’s why it is vital that our first-responders have the best training, best facilities and best equipment,” said Peggy Choudhry, district 1 county commissioner – home for the new tower and engine. “I think the people of Celebration and District 1 can be proud that these resources will be serving them for many years to come. This continues the County’s efforts to make sure our first-responders are ready for any emergency.”

Osceola Fire Rescue displayed the time-honored traditions of the fire service with a “push-back” ceremony. The first part of the ceremony involved washing, then drying off the new equipment. Then firefighters pushed the new vehicles into the firehouse, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century when horses could not properly back into the station with the wagon attached.

“This ceremony of transferring old to new helps us to remember the past and focuses us on our duty,” said Chief Robert Sorenson. “Now this tower and engine are ready to help our firefighters protect Osceola County citizens.”

 Continued priority: investing in public safety

 Osceola County’s Fire Rescue division continues to invest in life-saving training and equipment. In recent years in addition to new bunker gear, vital-sign telemetry monitors, self-contained breathing apparatus and Jaws of Life, Osceola County has made nearly $30 million in investments in public safety, including the training center, new stations and future sites, equipment, such as engines, rescues and other trucks.

 In March, the county dedicated a brand new fire training facility. The Pershing Street site features 11 acres to safely train Osceola County’s fire-fighting force for years to come in accordance with requirements that establish insurance rates for residents and businesses, a county press release stated.

The campus at 3186 Pershing Street allows for a variety of scenarios including: exercises in a 44-foot-tall tower, hose and hydrant evolutions, ground ladder work, and aerial operations. In addition, low frequency, high-risk evolutions such as rope rescue and confined space operations will be practiced along with live fire training, all in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards.

In 2018, the county opened replacement fire stations near Reunion and in Buenaventura Lakes. Station 73 was the third to be built with a cost-saving plan that is designed to withstand severe weather events with up to 150 mph wind speeds.

Station 62 in BVL is the second using the design, which will also leads to quicker and more efficient response by firefighters. Station 62 features homage to the deserving heroes of the 65th Infantry Regiment -- or as many people know them, the Borinqueneers. Station 64 was first station to use the design and opened in 2016.

The county acquired property in Campbell City last year to serve as a future site of various county government operations, including a new office for the Osceola County Tax Collector’s Office  and a fire station to replace the current Station 43.