On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Highland Fire Department celebrated the arrival of a new fire engine with a traditional push in at fire station 542, 29507 Base Line. Firefighters pushed the new engine into the station garage assisted by city leaders, San Manuel tribal leaders and Public Safety Academy cadets.

The engine, as well as the hoses and equipment to outfit it, was purchased with a $1.175 million grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to the city of Highland.

The engine replaces a 2006 engine that will now serve as a reserve engine, giving each of Highland’s three stations two engines. The reserve engines are used to ensure each station remains ready for service while engines undergo maintenance or repair or are out of the area assisting other departments.

The grant also paid for the purchase of 32 breathing apparatuses and four portable electrocardiogram machines, Mayor Larry McCallon shared when thanking San Manuel.

According to Johnny Hernandez of the San Manuel Business Committee, San Manuel is grateful to work with Highland on a government-to-government basis to benefit the safety of our shared community. It follows the example of cooperation San Manuel learned from neighboring fire departments and applied to the creation of its own department.

According to Fire Chief John Toon, the fire engine and all its equipment is ready for service, which will begin within the next week, following DMV registration.

Toon also shared that the traditional fire engine push-in originated from the era of hand- and horse-drawn firefighting equipment. Horses could not easily back the equipment into the station so the firefighters pushed the equipment in as a team.

“The tradition continues as a display of unity among members of firefighting community,” Toon said.

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