FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Washington Township Fire Department has installed a new water tanker apparatus in memory of Mark Haudenschild II, who was killed in November of 2012 while responding to a brush fire. The tanker was dedicated in Haudenschild’s memory Wednesday night at the township’s fire station.
A water tanker is designed to transport water from a water source to a fire scene. It is considered a vital piece of equipment for fire departments with limited access to hydrants during emergency responses in rural areas.
“This new apparatus compliments not only our firefighters’ efforts to suppress fires within Washington Township, it too will help local departments requesting mutual aid,” Washington Township Fire Chief Brian Gillett.
The fire department’s tanker holds 3,000 gallons of water, and gives the department two tankers once again. Gillett said the tanker was replaced through the department’s insurance policy, which would replace the old one at no financial cost to the department.
The new tanker includes a back-up camera, LED lights, and a computerized water pump.
“While we miss Mark, and wish we could bring him back, we have to move forward,” Gillett said. “Getting this truck into service and replacing the one that was lost is important. This is a bittersweet time for us. We will celebrate the new apparatus and dedicate it service to our fallen comrade and his family.”
During the installation ceremony, Haudenschild’s family assisted firefighters with the traditional components celebrating the apparatus’ installation. Janet Haudenschild, Mark’s wife, helped fill the first tank with water. His father, Mark Haudenschild, Sr., helped firefighters push the tanker back into the firehouse. Gillett said the procedure is a tradition that dates back to the 1800s.
Near the end of the ceremony, the crowd of about 100 people applauded when Gillett used his radio to notify dispatchers that the new tanker was in service.
Gillett said the tanker arrived at the station back in February. Since then, his firefighters have been training on the new equipment to make sure they’re ready to use it on runs.
Haudenschild’s two children, and his step-mother also attended Wednesday’s ceremony.