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Tea Fire Department prepares new truck for service

Tea Fire Department’s newest engine made it to the Tea station in October.

The department purchased a 2014 Freightliner, built by Rosenbauer in Lyons, S.D. The four-door truck boasts a 1,500-gallon minute pump, double the capacity of the 1982 GMC truck they are replacing.

Fire Chief Jeff Stahlecker, who has been with the Tea Fire Department since 2004, said the department currently has nine trucks, but the 1983 engine will be leaving.

Stahlecker hopes Rosenbauer will buy the 1982 truck back. It was the first UL-tested pumper the company made.

“They have shown great interest in it,” Stahlecker said.

The fire department ordered the new truck a year ago and it was delivered in October. The new engine has not been placed into service yet because firemen will need additional training to understand all of the new features. Stahlecker said firefighters will be training specifically on the new truck every Monday night this month. He hopes to put it into service Dec. 1.

“We want to make sure everyone is kind of familiar with it, understands it. It’s got the newer technology,” he said.

The new truck is set up differently and the pump is different. The new truck is more electronic. The truck has an air ride seat and a backseat. The new engine can hold five people. It’s also a little bigger to haul equipment and store necessary items

Stahlecker said that the biggest upgrade is that the new truck has an automatic transmission; the old truck had a manual transmission. He noted that a lot of the younger firefighters do not know how to operate a manual vehicle.

The department has two remaining vehicles that operate with a manual transmission. He thinks those should be the next items that need to be replaced.

There are 34 firefighters on the Tea Fire Department roster with one open spot. There are also 10 young firefighters in their cadet program.

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