On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the city of Banning celebrated the arrival of a new fire engine at Station 98, 172 N. Murray St., with firefighters and city representatives joining efforts to push the engine into the station for the first time, a traditional push-in ceremony.
Prior to the ceremony, Cal Fire Banning-Beaumont Fire Chief Todd Hopkins explained that the push-in ceremony tradition dates back to the 1800s, to the days of horse-drawn firefighting equipment. When returning to the station following a fire, the horses could not push the steamers backward into the station so the firefighters disconnected the horses and pushed them in by hand, often with the assistance of the community. This act is now down to commemorate a new engine.
This engine replaces model that had been serving at Station 98 since 2009. The old engine will now be kept on reserve, Hopkins said.
The city of Banning contracts fire services with Cal Fire through Cal Fire’s contract with Riverside County, and through that contract is guaranteed a working fire engine at each station and the availability of a reserve engine.
The new engine was especially equipped for service in Riverside County and has more of an urban focus than the last engine while still being capable of rural service.
Upgraded features in the new engine include more storage space and a specialized cabin, with air filters, designed to better protect firefighters from the health hazards of smoke and airborne chemicals.
There to assist in the push-in were Mayor Alberto Sanchez, Mayor Pro Tem Colleen Wallace, Councilwoman Sheri Flynn and Councilman Reuben Gonzales. Station 98 Fire Capt. Chris Wetzel had the honor of steering and applying the brakes.
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