Cave Spring Fire Department using refurbished engine that is part of 9/11 history
A new fire engine being put to good use in Cave Spring was once part of the response to one of the most tragic days in American history.
The story of the refurbished fire engine put into operation earlier this summer with the Cave Spring Fire Department started during the process of bringing the truck back to working conditions and a find on the inside of a door.
The truck was purchased by the City of Cave Spring a few months ago to be used as a backup engine, according to fire chief Randy Lacey, or what firefighters call a “second out engine” in case it is needed to fight a fire.
“It’s now Engine 17 for us,” said Jack Karch, a volunteer firefighter and pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Garden Lakes. “Inside the front passenger door, what we call the captain’s seat, it says it was an 1998 E-1 fire engine that was used by the D.C. Fire Department as Engine 18.”
Karch did some research once the plaque was found on the refurbished fire engine, and he got in touch with the Washington, D.C. Fire Department to see if the truck was involved with the response at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the side of the building.
It turns out that it was one of the many trucks called out to respond that day.
In a response from retired Lt. James Embrey of the D.C. Fire Department by email, he said the engine indeed was part of a first group of trucks called out to the Pentagon that day to help the Arlington Fire Department in its response to the fire.
Because the Pentagon is located in Arlington County, Va., it holds jurisdiction over the building in terms of fire response.
“According to Engine 18’s company journal for that fateful day, Engine 18 was indeed operating,” Embrey said by email to Karch.
Much of the department’s resources were under use that day.
Eventually, Engine 18 was retired from the D.C. Fire Department’s fleet of vehicles, Lacey said, and was put into reserve before being bought by M3 Fire Apparatus and the City of Cave Spring.
Now Karch hopes to celebrate its history by reminding Cave Spring residents of what they now have here at home connecting the small town to bigger histori- cal events.
“We’re all a brotherhood and we remember 9/11 whether it was at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon,” he said. “The men of that engine company were doing things at the Pentagon that day to save people.”
Karch and Lacey both said they’d like to put a plaque up in the future that will describe the history of the engine.
“We want people to know that there’s a historic truck amongst them in Cave Spring,” he said.
The Cave Spring Fire Department’s new reserve engine was once owned by the Washington, D.C. Fire Department and was one of the first set of trucks to respond to the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.