Pass Christian Receives New Fire Trucks

Firefighters couldn't wait to take one of the new engines for a test drive.

Pass Christian firefighter Terry Lewis hopped in the driver's seat and fired up one of the new vehicles.

"This looks like a key," said Lewis, "There we go," he said, as the engine came alive.

He was soon part of an impromptu parade around this still-recovering town that was so painfully storm struck.

Firefighters turned on the sirens and lights and honked the horns during the brief procession around the downtown.

Two new fire engines are reason for everyone to take notice.

"We lost every truck. Equipment that was in it up to that water line and equipment that was on the floor, that water came in here so fast, we couldn't move fast enough," said fire chief Rich Marvil.

"We're turning back on Second Street at Menge," Lewis said on his two way radio.

He proudly drove the engine around town, while joking he'd better not be the one to put the first scratch in the bright red vehicle.

A pair of new engines is a welcome early Christmas delivery for the Pass. Insurance money will cover about half of the $350,000 cost.

"We are going to go ahead and take that insurance money and take some other money and go ahead and pay for these trucks today, then try and get out money back. We're chasing a grant that we're pretty sure we'll get to help cover us with these fire trucks," said Mayor Chipper McDermott.

Several fire departments from around the country donated fire engines to Pass Christian. One 1985 model comes from Pennsylvania. And while the donations are much appreciated, most are older model equipment, which has a tendancy to break down during daily service.

The dependable new equipment will allow the Pass to maintain a favorable fire rating, and provide a welcome morale boost for firefighters who've been doing whatever it takes to get by.

"Oh, I love 'em. Love 'em. It's great to have our own trucks again. We really appreciate all the donated trucks and everyone that donated. But it's nice to have your own again," said a smiling firefighter Lewis.

The East End fire station received more than four feet of water in Hurricane Katrina. One of the new engines will be stationed there. The other will be assigned to Station Two on North Street.