Wilson fire officials roll out new response trucks

Insignia a nod to fire service’s heritage

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Wilson Fire/Rescue Services has two nearly new vehicles that will be used as mobile command centers for fire officials responding to incidents around the city.

Deputy Chief Ben Smith said the safety and training captains assigned to each shift were driving Dodges that had previously been decommissioned and used as reserve vehicles prior to the creation of the new rank.

“It was an old, tired reserve vehicle we had and this new truck will replace that,” Smith said. “That vehicle will be repurposed back to a maintenance vehicle because it has had quite a bit of emergency response demand on it. With more daily driving, we can stretch it to a longer life and get more out of it.”

The captains’ vehicle is a 2017 Ford F250 that was previously used by the department’s fourth deputy chief, but under the new use, it received a fresh look. The department also bought a 2018 Ford F250 for $31,082 that received similar markings and will be used by the battalion commanders.

“What we had worked well and it functioned very well, but as any vehicles do, they age and as time goes on, the maintenance issues mount up,” Smith said. “With the replacements, it is a great opportunity to introduce the department’s new image.”

Shortly after Fire Chief Albert Alston was selected to head the department, the senior staff developed an insignia known as “the scramble,” which was emblazoned on the side of Engine 4 in 2018 and on the doors of both new F250s.

The scramble is not replacing the department’s patch, but it is full of symbolism. The gold leaf lettering hearkens back to letters on the side of fire trucks years ago while the bell shape at the bottom symbolizes the old bells that would alert residents when a truck was responding to an incident. The “W” in the middle of the scramble holds up the “F” and “R” of Wilson Fire/Rescue and symbolizes the community support for the department.

“Back in the day, departments had scrambles on the sides of their rigs and this is a chance to look back on our history, but with an update,” said Deputy Chief Michael Sumner. “The scramble is Chief Alston’s way of identifying a new day for the department and the community.”

Because the captain truck was already in the department’s fleet, that expenditure was part of fiscal year 2017-18 budget while the commander truck was in the budget for the current fiscal year.

“The new look of the trucks sends a message of continuous improvement,” Sumner said, “and that is what our department is all about.”