Special delivery from Rochester: Fire truck donated to storm-ravaged community

Dec 31, 2021

After tornadoes devastated sections of Kentucky Dec. 10, the Cayce, Ky. Fire Department lost its entire station.

“There’s nothing left but a concrete pad,’’ Cayce Fire Chief Wade Adams said.

All four pieces of apparatus used by the department to cover a 28-mile coverage area were also destroyed, Adams said.

But thanks to the generosity of the Rochester Fire Department, one major piece of equipment will soon be replaced.

The Rochester Fire Department’s spare 3,000 gallon tanker, which both stores and pumps water, is headed to Cayce, a gift from their fellow firefighters and the community of Rochester.

“With their donation, we can start putting water on the ground and start fighting fires again,’’ Adams said. 

Within minutes of hearing about the Cayce department’s devastation, Rochester Fire Chief Scott Wiegel realized that the department’s 1988 FMC tanker/pumper might fit the bill for his Kentucky counterparts.

Following an emergency meeting of the Rochester Select Board on Dec. 29, the vehicle was released to surplus, which allowed the Rochester Fire Department to donate the vehicle.

The equipment that is headed to Cayce served Rochester from 2000 to January 2020, when it was replaced with a newer truck.  

Rochester does not have fire hydrants, so the source of water to fight blazes comes in the form of tankers which bring water to the fire, Weigel said.

This is the same firefighting method used in Cayce, Weigel said, so the tanker should be useful.

Rochester will also be supplying the Cayce Fire Dept with a large diameter hose to help them get started, Weigel said.

The night before the truck left the area, Fire Department members cleaned and prepared the truck for delivery, Weigel said.

The Highway Department also made “some needed repairs to the truck’’ to prepare for its delivery. 

“It has been a group effort here with the full support of several agencies,’’ Weigel said.

Representatives of RYCO Excavating in Middleboro volunteered to deliver the vehicle to Cayce.

For Adams and his firefighters, “thank you’s not good enough, it really isn’t,’’ the Cayce chief said. 

He described the effort as “brothers truly taking care of brothers. It truly is humbling. It’ll soften a chief’s heart.’’

He hopes to have a new station constructed within a year. Until then, his department is being housed in various farm buildings in the largely rural area, Adams said.

He hopes to pay the kindness of others forward by appointing one of his all-volunteer team to scour social media and locate places that could use some support. 

“If they need help, we want to help,’’ Adams said.

Adams also plans to visit communities across the country that have reached out to support the Cayce Fire Department. Rochester, he said, will definitely be on the agenda. 

Rochester Fire was happy to help, Weigel said.

“We are overjoyed to be able to assist our brothers and sisters in Kentucky,’’ Weigel said. “God knows they have had it rough, and their road ahead will be a tough one. If our donation can help give them a jump start, then that’s what we want to be a part of.’’