A Tribute to Engine 22
by Jessica Grimes Butler
As we step back in time, the year is 1971. East Rivanna Fire Company has been up and running for only 1 year. Money is tight and the thought of ever responding to an EMS call is far from anyone's mind. The vision of a green fire engine is absurd. Firefighters are known for riding on the tailboard of the engines and SCBA is still on the drawing board.
American La France arrives at the station with a 1970 American La France fire pumper. It is powered by a 6 cylinder, 220HP Detroit Diesel engine. It has a five speed manual transmission, a one thousand gallon per minute two stage pump, and a Pioneer Cab. This state of the art new pumper is East Rivanna's to test drive for a week. At the end of the week the Brigade is crazy about the engine.
The Brigade meets with the Board of Directors and the cost of the engine is $32,500. The Board of Directors does not have the money to buy the engine but challenges the Brigade. If the Brigade can raise $6,500 in a week, then the Board will pay for the rest of the engine.
This Brigade is undeterred – and undertakes the challenge of raising the $6,500. They go door-to-door to every house in their first due area. They take every dime, nickel, and penny that people are willing to give and put it all in a bag. At the end of the week, the Brigade presents the Board with a little over $6,500 and the Board pays for the rest of the engine.
This American La France pumper is now known as Engine 22. It was the first Diesel powered fire pumper in Albemarle County. She has seen her fair share of fire and has been on the scene of nearly all major fires since she was purchased. Engine 22 is known for saving the town of Scottsville where it pumped 24 hours straight up against its governor, and was buried in the James River up to the tail board. Her distinct sound lets you when she's coming. Times have changed – red is a color of the past at East Rivanna – but everyone still shows Engine 22 the respect she has earned. Rust has begun to creep up her side and she has a few rough spots, but thanks to Firefigher Andrew Goss, her beauty will once again be seen. He has begun to refurbish old Engine 22 to bring her back to her glory days!!