PHOTO GALLERY — Port Arthur welcomes “Stonegate Crazy 8” for community protection

Published 12:30 am Friday, December 17, 2021

Port Arthur Fire Station No. 8 celebrated a special addition this week — a brand new fire engine.

Departments and city leaders from all over Jefferson County joined at the 9th Avenue station at 3 p.m. Wednesday to assist in the traditional “push in.”

“This is going to be the Stonegate Crazy 8,” said Mayor Thurman Bartie, when addressing the crowd and then the truck. “That’s your new name.”

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Bartie, Councilmen Thomas Kinlaw and Kenneth Marks, and City Manager Ron Burton all spoke at the event, which included first responders from all over Southeast Texas.

The tradition, Fire Chief Greg Benson said, dates back more than 100 years when horses led fire-fighting apparatuses.

“Horses can’t back them into the station,” he said.

While horses are no longer part of the process, horsepower definitely is. The new engine, which cost $850,000 and would include an additional $100,000 in equipment to be added at a later date, has 450 horsepower. It carries 500 gallons of water on it, and has a 1,5000 gallon per minute pump.

Council approved the new engine two years ago, some members of which were present for its arrival. The truck that had been in use at that station will now go into reserve status.

Benson said the National Fire Protection Association recommends fire trucks stay in use no more than 15 years, and in reserve for no longer than five years. However, after those 20 years, they often then go to smaller departments that do not go on as many calls each year and do not put a lot of wear and tear on the apparatus.

The official ceremony began with a Nederland Fire Truck parked on 9th Avenue in front of the station to display the American flag.

Then the now-reserved Engine 8 and an engine from the Port Neches Fire Department raised their 100-foot ladders, touching bucket to bucket, to create an arch. As “Stonegate Crazy 8” drove in, firefighters in the bucket sprayed it down with water.

After the truck was positioned to be backed into the station, those in attendance grabbed rags to dry it off. And immediately after, everyone joined to push it into the bay.

“It gives me great pleasure that we’re able to have this truck,” Kinlaw said. “The past council was instrumental in getting this truck. We’ve got some more good things to come with our council and our city manager, so keep on the look out.”

Kinlaw also said the city wants to ensure first responders have the best equipment possible before joking, “I live two minutes down the road, so make sure you get there quick.”

Benson joked back, “Since you’re two minutes down the road, when we come back to wash it at night, we can give you a call, right?”