After spending a year working with designers and engineers, Pittston Township volunteer firefighters brought home their new heavy rescue engine Thursday.
Department President Allan Capozucca said the custom-built fire engine, which cost $351,000, was designed to best suit the department's more frequent emergency types.
Capozucca said last year the department responded to over 400 calls, most of them being for accidents on State Routes 315 and 81.
The new engine, which seats six crew members and carries rescue equipment, is to alleviate a 14-year old rescue truck that also carries water. Capozucca said the old truck will still see fires, but with the new one, firefighters will not have to haul 750 gallons of water every time they respond to a highway accident as they did before.
The township's financial administrator, John Bonita, said its purchase was made possible because of the township's emergency service tax.
Bonita said, on average, the extra tax equates to about $30 more per year for property owners. He said, because of it, the department been able to pay for new police equipment, the new fire engine and the ambulance association is to receive a new ambulance in October.
Bonita said the tax is temporary and enforced only as long as supervisors see a need to improve emergency services, adding that he has not heard any complaints about the increase.
Al Capozucca, Allan's father and a lifetime member of the department, said when he began working with the department in 1956, it bought a truck for only $10,000 and paid $5,000 to equip it.
The new truck has not yet been equipped and Al said it might cost as much as $50,000 to fill it with rescue gear. Currently, it has only empty compartments.
The new truck glistened in the afternoon sun as volunteers and township officials inspected its features, shook hands and slapped backs.
Apart from the regular department decals that identify the truck's home township and company number, the Transformers symbol emblazons the cab's side windows. The Transformers, most commonly known now for the Paramount Pictures film, are super hero machines that take the form of unassuming motor vehicles. But when duty calls, they change their shape into evil-stopping heroes.
Assistant Chief Tony Angelella Jr. said it was to remind everyone that, on the outside, the vehicle looks like a truck, but in an emergency, it turns into something more.
Fire Department President Allan Capozucca said last year the department responded to over 400 calls, most of them being for accidents on State Routes 315 and 81.