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New Ashford Fire Department Puts New Truck into Service
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:35AM / Sunday, May 05, 2024
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The New Ashford Fire Department celebrates its new engine on Saturday at an open house and fire truck blessing.

New Ashford Fire Chief Frank Speth talks about the history of the department.

New Ashford Fire Department Chaplain J.D. Hebert blesses the department's turnout gear.

New Ashford's new fire truck Saturday gets a ceremonial dousing with a hose.

Firefighters help their new engine back into the station as they are doused with a fire hose during Saturday's ceremony.

New Ashford Fire Department Chaplain J.D. Hebert gives an invocation on Saturday morning.
NEW ASHFORD, Mass. — With a blessing from its chaplain and a ceremonial dousing from a fire hose, the New Ashford Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday christened its first new apparatus in two decades.
The company purchased a 2003 HME Central States pumper from the town of Pelham earlier this year.
On Saturday, the department held a brief ceremony during which Chaplain J.D. Hebert blessed both the new engine and the company's turnout gear.
After the apparatus was sprayed with a hose, a handful of New Ashford's bravest helped push it as it was backed into the station on Ingraham Road.
Fire Chief Frank Speth said the new engine has a 1,500 gallon pump and carries 1,000 gallons of water. And it replaces a truck that was facing some costly repairs to keep on the road.
"We had a 1991 Spartan," Speth said. "When we had the pump tested, it needed about $40,000 worth of repairs. Being it's almost 30 years old, I said to the town, 'We put the $40,000 in, but then how many more years can we get out of it?'
"Once you get into the pump situation, you get into, 'This needs to be done, and this needs to be done,' and it could be more than $40,000. So do we want to spend that amount of money to repair that engine or get something that will replace it."
At the same time, the new engine also replaces a 1981 Hahn that the department received in a donation from a town in New Jersey.
The truck that went into service on Saturday morning gives New Ashford two pumpers and a 2,300-gallon tanker that it acquired brand new with a grant in 2021.
It bears both the seal of the New Ashford department and an emblem representing the Quabbin Reservoir with the words "Proudly Served," in a nod to its time in the Quabbin area town of Pelham.
"This is a 2003 [truck] that served their community well," Speth said. "The engine has been regularly serviced, regularly maintained.
"When we went down to pick the engine up, the fire chief down there, Dennis Nazzaro, left a lot of equipment on it — radios, chain saws."
The next apparatus in the department's rotation for replacement is a 2004 Darley that New Ashford purchased off the assembly line with the proceeds of a grant.
But that is a concern for another day.
Saturday was all about celebrating the new engine, showing off the fire station with an open house and offering thanks for the volunteer firefighters and prayers for their continued safety.
Hebert invoked the name of St. Florian, the third-century patron saint of firefighters.
"May our community come together to uplift and empower those who selflessly serve as firefighters," Hebert said. "Let us surround them with love, encouragement and solidarity in their important work."
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