TAVARES – The Lake County Public Safety Department’s Fire Rescue Division has begun a new tradition that is steeped in history, dedicating three new fire trucks in ceremonious fashion.
Assistant Chief Jim Dickerson explained that in the 1800s, fire truck dedications were like a 4th of July party in communities, with everyone coming out to take a peek and celebrate the arrival of the new engine.
“Fire service is rich in tradition,” said Dickerson. “There are quite a few customs that were implemented by the founders of the fire service which are still in place today.”
In line with the dedications of horse-drawn fire trucks back in the early 19th century, firefighters at each location unveiled the truck’s new female name, shined its tires and “pushed” it back into the firehouse with the help of dignitaries and members of the community.
On April 3, Engine 71 in Leesburg was dedicated and named Fran, while Engine 54 in Lady Lake was dubbed Brandy. On April 10, Engine 39 in Mount Plymouth was dedicated as Eleanor.
Lake County commissioners Welton Cadwell and Leslie Campione were in attendance at Station 54 and 39, respectively, to support the new tradition. At Station 39, more than two dozen people came out to celebrate as Pastor Earl Wright of the Sorrento Christian Center blessed the engine.
“It’s a great time for the Fire Rescue Division and for the community as we dedicated three new fire rescue engines,” said Lake County Public Safety Department Chief John Jolliff. “The three new trucks will serve their respective communities for many years to come.”