FREELAND — Daisy will finish out its days doing what it was made for, responding to emergencies.
Island County Fire District commissioners handed over the keys to its reserve fire engine Thursday to representatives of Whitman County Fire Protection District 10.
“These guys are as happy as can be,” Mike Cotton, District 3 deputy chief, said Monday. “They’re going to paint ‘Daisy’ on the side. It’s their first modern piece of equipment.”
The yellow, 1982 Ford Pierce fire engine was bought new by District 3. It has a mid-mounted pump that churns out 1,000 gallons of water per minute, a 750-gallon water tank, a 636-cubic-inch CAT diesel engine, an automatic transmission and an odometer reading of 56,000 miles, with only 20,000 miles on a new engine.
“It’s been well-maintained, and is in great mechanical condition,” Cotton said.
The truck became redundant when the district acquired firefighting equipment from the city of Langley. Commissioners declared it surplus, and offered it for sale, but received only one “very small bid” from a local company, Cotton said.
So they decided to donate Daisy to a deserving fire service elsewhere in the state. A notice was sent out, with prospective owners required to submit reasons why they should receive it.
Commissioners got nine responses; seven from inside the state, one from Alabama and one from Costa Rica.
They sifted through the candidates, and settled on the Whitman County district, which serves about 1,500 people between Spokane and Pullman, a few miles from the Idaho border. It has only one other fire engine, Cotton said, a 1966 International.
“But the dangers are just as real there as they are anyplace else,” Cotton said.
The Whitman district got Daisy for $1.
The truck spent most of its time in District 3 as Engine 36, stationed at Bayview. For a time, it was Engine 312, based at Freeland, and most recently Engine 352, based at the Saratoga station.
“I have a lot of fond memories responding on that piece of equipment,” Cotton said. “It’s not the prettiest truck on the block, but it has one of the best-sounding airhorns you’ve ever heard.”
“This guarantees it will stay in the fire service for many years to come,” he added. “If it can go put out a fire somewhere, rather than sit on someone’s property, that’s a fitting ending.”