What’s Big and Red and Puts Out Fires?

If you guessed a “fire truck”, you are 100% correct . . . and Mackinac Island will soon have a NEW one – well, not BRAND new, but new for us!  The bright, shiny truck arrived for testing a week ago (as I was getting ready to walk downtown to go pick Blake up at the airport), and thanks to Smi Horn, a Mackinac Island volunteer fireman,  I have some photos to show you!

The shiny red 75-foot ladder and pumper truck on the Coal Dock. The truck's ladder is 20 feet taller than the city's current truck (at left) and able to reach the roofs of every Mackinac Island structure.

The truck was built by HME of Wyoming (Michigan) as a demonstration truck, using maneuverability on Mackinac Island's narrow roads as one of its design features. HME built the city's Engine I truck in 2003 and built this demo truck last year. It has toured the country at shows and departments in need of a new equipment. Although the truck has many road miles, it has seen no firefighting time and is in great shape. The lifespan of a firetruck is 30 years.

The 2010 truck has a 2007 diesel engine. Later-model engines have exhaust systems that allow such trucks to be driven at highway speeds, but such capability is not needed on Mackinac Island. Island firefighters inspected the truck and tested it on some of the Island's most challenging streets, like Turkey Hill. Assistant Fire Chief and City Council Member Sam Barnwell said, "It handles great. It has a better turn radius. It drove much smoother and quieter than any of the other trucks that we have."

I believe this is firefighter Josh Carley making the climb up the 75-foot ladder.

At the City Council meeting on Thursday evening (8/25/2011), the decision was made to purchase this great truck.  What a great asset it will be to the arsenal of firefighting equipment already owned by the Island!

Note:  Information for this post taken from articles in The Mackinac Island Town Crier.  Thanks again to Smi Horn for the use of his photos!


14 thoughts on “What’s Big and Red and Puts Out Fires?

  1. I watched it go down Hoban St. and turn onto Main. Didn’t seem to have any problem making the turn. Thanks to Jill for the heads up! 🙂 Very nice truck.

  2. Brenda,

    Great. With all the frame buildings, it’s obvious that a loooooong ladder is needed to reach the roof of each one. Thanks for the pictures and information.

  3. Fires anywhere are scary, but even more so on the island. How great that a Michigan company built it to island standards and then the island could purchase it as a used truck! That’s a real win-win situation. Thanks for another great story about island people and things that make our vacations possible – and safe!

  4. So wonderful to have a new and perfect truck for the island. It has t be a wonderful relief for them to know they can now reach all of the roofs on the island. I love fire trucks. Thanks for all of the great photos from this and the last post…..I had to play catch up today and really enjoyed them!! Hope Jill is feeling a lot better by now.

  5. Wow, that’s great! Now it can reach the top of every wooden building on the island.
    A couple of years ago I asked if I could take some pictures of our downtown area for a new city brochure. The city manager–a friend from HS–had the fire department guys give me a view of the city from the top of the 95 ft ladder (in the cherry picker) on their new fire engine. Talk about a thrill ride. Do you want to go up that ladder, Brenda? It will change your world. It scared the bejeebers out of me. 🙂

  6. Saw the fire trucks via Chippewa’s live camera. Thanks for the story. My husband was a firefighter in Toledo and is always interested in Mackinac’s fire equipment.

  7. Nice truck! And, I agree with Barbara B above-how awesome that it was made in Michigan just for Mackinac roads! Now, we’ll just cross our fingers that it never has to come to your house….

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