WAIMEA — The Kaua‘i Fire Department Waimea fire station buzzed with the electricity of a fire-truck blessing Thursday as Aletha Kaohi prepared to officiate the christening.
“This is my community,” Kaohi said. “I live across the street by the big tree. How could I not do this?” she asked.
KFD Chief Steven Goble was joined by other representatives from the KFD, including shift crews from the Waimea fire station, Office of the Mayor, Kaua‘i County Council, Friends of Kaua‘i Fire Service, and other dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele’s Kaua‘i representative Michael Contrades.
“Mahalo to all the hands that came together to bring this fire truck to our island,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami in a press release. “This is an essential tool that belongs to the people of Kaua‘i. Our firefighters with the Waimea fire station will use this truck for the benefit, safety and well-being of our community.”
Coming in with a price tag at $654,291, the new truck takes the place of the Waimea fire station’s last truck following its service life of 15 years, Goble said. The KFD Apparatus Committee and firefighters Nohili Vierra, Sean Kitamura, Corey Sakai and Dan Hirata have been part of the overall project to bring the truck to Kaua‘i since 2019.
Goble said the new truck was built for the Waimea fire station’s unique environment and is highly customized to suit the conditions in the community it serves.
This is similar to other fire stations’ environments, like the Princeville fire truck having to deal with the weight capacity of the historic Hanalei Bridge and the Koloa station housing the only ladder truck on the island.
“With this blessing ceremony we bring this engine into our family to offer us the protection and the capability to keep everybody in our community safe,” Goble said. “We are happy for this day, and to have this new truck for Kaua‘i.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.