SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- With the sun shining and 90 degree temperatures, one could not have picked better weather for a "wetdown" to welcome Scotch Plains fire department's new engine 1684.

A wetdown is a long-standing tradition among firefighters to officially launch a new engine. Typically, visiting fire departments will open the hoses to spray down the new truck. Among the departments in Scotch Plains that participated were Fanwood, Garwood, Roselle Park and Iselin.

Township officials helped welcome the truck, including Scotch Plains Councilwoman Colleen Gialanella, the council's liaison to the fire department, who spoke of the sacrifices that volunteer force makes. Township Manager Al Mirabella remarked that in a country that idolizes athletes and celebrities, firefighters are his heroes. Mayor Kevin Glover used the occasion to emphasize that he and the council have put "safety first."

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"For far too long, our firefighters have operated with outdated equipment (a 30-year-old engine). Our brave men and women deserve to have modern equipment so that they can do their jobs and return to their homes and family safely," Glover said.

"These people go the extra mile to protect us them, and this is a much needed investment in the safety of all of us," added Glover, who said he would approve the purchase of a new ladder truck for the Scotch Plains fleet next year. 

Fire Chief Jonathan Ellis commended the township officials for approving the addition of the new truck. Father David Santos of St. Bart's, blessed the truck.

In addition to lots of fun in the water, the event included a barbeque, music by local band Wolf Creek, and bounce houses for the kids.