MARKLE, Ind. (WANE) — A new fire truck will soon be protecting the streets in Huntington and Wells County.
“It’s different looking,” Markle Fire Chief Jon Gray said. “It holds everything that we wanted and needed. People have called it a transformer or something from the Jetsons. We actually think it’s pretty cool.”
The Markle Volunteer Fire Department is located 25 miles south of Fort Wayne. The department serves more than 6,300 people over 144 square miles. Back in 2018 officials with the fire department were looking to replace one of their trucks when they stumbled across Rosenbauer.
This is Indiana’s first Rosenbauer Avenger, custom made for Markle’s fire department. It’s a European and American design combined. The new machine is two trucks in one having the capacity to hold and function for both rescue and fire. With the new truck come several features such as a calf air system that uses less water than a traditional fire truck and a large cabin area designed to hold 6 firefighters.
“We are a small volunteer fire department but being able to put our place on the map with a new truck and being the first one in Indiana is pretty cool,” Gray said. “I hope it brings a lot of interest. Several departments are looking into getting one. It just brings joy and we are blessed to have something like this.”
Historically Markle has been the first to receive new designs and models of trucks over the years. In the seventies, the department was the first department in Huntington and Wells County to have a fire truck that fit six people as well as one of the first fire departments to have a class B ambulance that wasn’t a van.
Along with the truck came a new logo for the department.
When it came to purchasing the truck the department and city were able to save and pulled together enough money to buy it. When the Avenger is put into service it will eventually replace two of the department’s current fire trucks. Those trucks will then go to departments in need.
Rosenbauer officials will make the trip to Markle to help train firefighters before the rig goes into service. At that time firefighters from other stations will be invited to attend to learn how to use the new truck.
The fire department will hold a private dedication ceremony on January 23th at 6 p.m. at the Markle Fire Station for members of the department. Officials plan to hold a second dedication ceremony in the spring so the public can come and take a tour of the truck.
Markle’s fire department is currently teaming up with IVY Tech to help recruit new volunteers and offer a free college degree.
“We are excited,” Lieutenant Mike Grant said. “We hope the truck will spark some interest and maybe even get people involved.”