FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - Committed to maintaining a first-rate emergency response capability, the Fort A.P. Hill leadership has brought back into commission the last remaining fire engine to be upgraded with the traditional "Push In" ceremony today at Fire Station 7.

At a cost of $300,000, the upgrade has saved the installation what it would have cost to purchase a new fire engine, said Chief Daniel Glembot, Fort A.P. Hill fire department. "A new truck costs a little more than half a million dollars."

The upgrade brings the 1999 E-1 Fire Truck up to 2010 standards and will better accommodate today's mission requirements. Refurbishing the fire engine took six months to accomplish and includes the addition of a new 750-gallon water tank, a 50-gallon foam tank, a scene-lighting system and a completely rebuilt water pump, engine and transmission.

This "new" engine compliments the installation's existing fleet and will provide area fire departments added first response capability as part of an ongoing Mutual Aid Agreement between the local community and the installation.

Chief David E. Layman, Caroline County Fire and Emergency Services, said that any asset that the installation can provide to the county is certainly a resource it can utilize.

"It's been part of an ongoing relationship that's been established over the years," he said. "I think we've made it even stronger within the last 12 months."

In November, the installation commissioned a $350,000 fire training facility which offers area firefighters the opportunity to practice live fire strategies and fire rescue tactics in a safe and controlled environment.

According to Lt. Col. John W. Haefner, Fort A.P. Hill garrison commander, "it's not everyday we get an opportunity to put another fire engine into service."

This upgrade will increase Fort A.P. Hill's ability to support all members of the local community, the installation and Caroline County with that essential aid expected out of local government, he said.

Haefner added that the installation provides more than $250,000 a year in mutual aid calls to the county and this "increased" capability will actually increase coverage.

The "Push In" ceremony is an age-old tradition dating back to the 1700s when manufacturers would deliver the "new pumper" wagon to the fire station with a team of horses, explained Glembot. Since the team of horses couldn't back up, the receiving party would unhitch the wagon, push it back into the station, then load up the equipment and hitch their own team of horses - ready for its initial response.