Columbia City High School Fire Academy students recently announced a unique partnership with the Columbia Township Fire Department and bought a retired fire truck for just $1. This collaboration provides educational opportunities for the students while fostering a stronger connection between the fire department and the local community.
The fire truck has served the Columbia Township Department for 30 years, responding to countless emergencies and providing essential services. As it neared retirement, Columbia Township offered to sell the truck to the program for student benefit.
“The truck was reaching retirement and we wanted to support the program in some way. We have gained numerous kids out of that class and wanted a way to give back to them,” said Shane Caudill, Columbia Township Fire Chief.
The fire truck is a 1990 International/FMC pumper. It was purchased new in 1990, along with a sister unit, a pumper/tanker that remains in service. The 1990 trucks were the first new fire apparatus built specifically for Columbia Township. They marked the beginning of a new era for the department, being able to pump and haul more water than ever before. This vehicle has seen thousands of responses over the last thirty years, rescuing people, fighting fires and serving as the workhorse of the department in front-line service.
“This opportunity allows my students hands-on experience in vehicle maintenance and offers them the chance to practice on a truck that is their own,” said Zach Rumsyre, CCHS Fire Instructor and full-time firefighter.
The students will use the truck for drills such as pumping water, hydrant connections, lever use, drafting, changing hose lines, loading and unloading line, modified driver-operator drills and more.
The truck transfer occurred during school hours with the 2023-2024 Fire Academy Recruits, Columbia Township Fire Department Representatives and Jennifer Reiff, WCCS Director of Innovation and Technology.
“It seems fitting to me that after so many years of front-line service, this truck should go on serving the community by helping teach our youth the craft of saving lives and property. The school’s program has produced several volunteers for our program, and we are grateful. We hope that this fire engine’s donation further enhances the students’ experience and continues to send us trained fire rescue personnel to serve the citizens of Columbia Township,” said Matt Minier, Township Trustee.
Columbia Township will keep the truck maintained and certified for their use if needed, but students can use the fully functioning truck.
“It means so much to us that the program is growing and people care about our training. To have our own functioning apparatus is so beneficial for our class and the classes to come,” said Andrea Weaver, CCHS Fire Student.
The truck will be wrapped in Columbia City Fire Academy decals and serve the students well. WCCS appreciates Columbia Township for their generosity and for selling the fire truck.