BRIELLE — The Brielle Fire Company held a “wetdown” in Brielle Park from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 to celebrate the acquisition of a new fire engine. Much like breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow of a new ship, a wetdown is a traditional way to “welcome” a new fire engine into service. The celebrating fire company puts out notice to surrounding towns about the new engine, and the fellow fire departments show up to hose down the new arrival with water from their own engines.
The practice dates back to the 1800’s, when fire companies used horse-drawn wagons, and the horses had to be wetted down after fires to cool them off. It evolved into a version of the modern tradition, with wetdowns of new wagons and horses before they were pushed into the fire station.
After the ceremony, Brielle’s celebration featured food, drink and live music for all who attended.
“We were thrilled to have members of the town out to help us celebrate our new engine,” said Daryl Schambach, assistant chief, Brielle Fire Company. “This is the first new engine the department has had since 2003, so it’s a significant moment for us, and we’re very appreciative of the fact that we were able to purchase it.”
Mr. Schambach noted that the department has already put the new truck to work, “We’ve already started drilling with it every week, ensuring that we’re used to the new features and able to operate seamlessly with it when we do take it out to a real fire.”
The engine, a Seagrave 99-79, was officially put into service earlier this month, when it responded to a small incident in town. It was made to the fire company’s specifications and will be replacing an older, 99-77 model truck.
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