Shortly after the Creek Fire in 2020, Shaver Lake’s Volunteer Fire Department set out to acquire a new engine to help fight structural and wildland fires in its response area, which has grown over the past decades to include areas north to Huntington Lake and east to Courtright and Wishon reservoirs.
That fire engine — designated Engine 260, or E-260 — was pushed into Shaver Lake’s Old Firehouse on Thursday in a ceremony that hearkens back to the late 1800s, when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment. Horses being notoriously difficult to back up, the firefighters would push the apparatus into the building.
“The push-in ceremony remains a symbol of fire service unity and serves to honor the history found in fire departments across the nation,” the department wrote in a release announcing the ceremony.
The Kenworth engine was purchased with money from Fresno County Service Area 31- Shaver Lake Fire Protection and Recreation along with a fund established with the Central Valley Community Foundation.
It will serve double duty as both a structure fire response vehicle and as a water tender. It has high-pressure pumps and hoses specifically intended to fight structure fires, but is also built to hold 2,000 gallons of water in a portable storage tank that can rapidly be deployed with the push of a button. Because the department also does wildland firefighting, the engine has an hydraulic all-wheel-drive system that gives it extra traction and maneuverability in difficult terrain and during severe weather conditions.
From the start of the Creek Fire, Volunteers from the Shaver Lake department fought alongside crews from CalFire, the U.S. Forest Service and volunteer fire departments from surrounding communities. They were pulled from the fire after a month.