TOP PHOTO:  Caryville has a brand new fire truck.

Caryville Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker (middle) dangles the key signaling that the handsome fire truck he’s sitting on has been officially added to the Caryville fleet.  On Hatmaker’s right is Assistant Fire Chief Brad Smith and on his left is Caryville Mayor and Firefighter Bobby Stooksbury.  

CARYVILLE, TN (WLAF) – A new fire truck doesn’t come along very often for most fire departments.  So getting its first new unit since 2003 has really pumped up the spirits at the Caryville Fire Department.  See more of Brooke Goins photos HERE.

Caryville Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker said, “It’s kindly exciting for any fireman to get a new fire truck to better the fire department and the city for fire protection.”  The veteran chief added the the new unit helps with the Insurance Services Office (ISO) Fire Rating where citizens homeowners insurance is concerned.

The key hand off came on the evening of April 14, when the unit was delivered by Andy Blesch (right) of Southern Emergency Products in Flintstone, Georgia.  Caryville Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker (left) officially receives the keys to the new fire truck.

Though the CFD’s new fire truck does carry a hefty price tag of more than $300,000.  However, thanks to a grant from the USDA, it only costs Caryville 12 percent or roughly $38,000.  The new unit comes after Caryville donated a unit to the White Oak Fire Dept.

The purchase order for the new fire truck was dated August 31, 2018, with an arrival date of April 14, 2020.  “It was well worth the wait; tickled to death with it,” said Caryville Mayor and former CFD Chief Bobby Stooksbury.

It all began with a diagram (left) and a Freightliner chassis (right).

The wall in Chief Hatmaker’s office is covered with a play-by-play of photos from the diagram to the finished product.

The lengthy delay in getting the new fire truck was because of such a robust economy.  The mayor pointed out that Freightliner Trucks could not build chassis fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Chief Eddie Hatmaker (left) looks on as Firefighters David Hatmaker and Joey Gilbert (up top) continue installing accessories to the new fire truck.

There has been a Hatmaker on the Caryville Firefighter roster since Day One.  The late James Hatmaker (photo above) was a charter member of the Caryville Volunteer Fire Department when it was started in 1953, and later, his son, Eddie, joined and has been the chief for almost 20 years.  

The Caryville Fire Department is in its 67th year.

Now that the new unit is finally here, it will take firefighters a while to mount accessories like tools and hoses.  “It takes time to prep it, and it will not be used before it’s ready.  We’ll take the time to spend the time needed on it.  It’s not everyday you get a new fire truck,” said Hatmaker.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/27/2020-6AM)