Tisbury welcomes new fire engine

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The Tisbury Fire Department's new fire engine rolls off the MV Martha's Vineyard Thursday morning. —Gabrielle Mannino

Tisbury’s newest fire engine rolled off the MV Martha’s Vineyard Thursday morning into the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal. The Tisbury Fire Department was there to greet it. With the old Ford Class A pumper leading the way, the very truck the new engine will replace, and Rescue Truck 661 at the rear, the fire department escorted the new engine, 662, to the fire station.

Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said the new $429,000 engine combines components of two truck manufacturers — KME and International — with customizations by Bulldog Fire Apparatus. Schilling called the engine a “true four-wheel-drive,” as opposed to an all-wheel-drive engine.

Tisbury’s long dirt roads, like Herring Creek and Northern Pines, are tough to navigate in muddy or snowy conditions, Schilling said. The 4×4 engine will allow the fire department to

deliver 1,000 gallons of water to a fire scene. “We were looking for a large capacity to make a good initial attack,” the chief said.

Many of the long dirt roads in Tisbury are without hydrants, so the high-volume capacity of the engine is especially useful. Mutual aid by West Tisbury water tankers would sustain an attack after the 1,000 gallons was exhausted, the chief said.

The new engine also has a short wheel base for greater nimbleness. “This was first time they’ve built a truck in this configuration,” Schilling said.

The department is scheduled to train on the new engine Sunday.

In a curious coincidence, the odometer of the engine, when it was parked in the fire station bay, matched its call sign — 662.