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Manning Fire Department acquires new rescue unit, honors late captain

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A new rescue unit from the Manning Fire Department can now be spotted on the road, sporting an image of a bulldog on its back.

Last year, the Manning Fire Department acquired a new rescue unit, which the team remodeled all on their own.

Bob Barsby, the chief for the Manning Fire Department, said their old unit, which was over 15-years old, was now too small for the equipment they needed to transport. 

While searching for a replacement, Barsby said the members found a 2006 rescue unit located in Houston, Texas.

Last July, the Manning City Council approved of the fire department purchasing a new rescue unit, which was reported by the Times Herald last July.

The fire department had a Fire Trust Fund, which they used to raise money for the unit. The Manning City Council helped fund the rest of the expenses needed.

Once the purchase was approved, members from the Fire Department traveled to Texas and drove the truck back to Manning.

When it was brought to the station, Barsby said the unit was originally an “ugly, ugly green,” so the team stripped the truck down to its bare frame and painted it red. The team also installed new LED lights.

“All of the work done on the truck was done by firemen, we didn’t hire any of it,” Barsby said. 

The team also added a few small details on the unit, such as placing lettering near the passenger seat, reading “Big Kahuna.”

The lettering was included in honor of Dave Genzen, a former unit captain who died in 2018. Genzen was nicknamed as “Big Kahuna” by his fellow firefighters.

Since Genzen was a graduate of the Manning Community School District, the firefighters added an image of a bulldog on the back. The bulldog can be seen wearing a helmet with the number 95, which was Genzen’s designation. 

With all the work it required, Barsby said the unit wasn’t put into service until last month. Now that it’s fully restored, he said the unit offers much more benefits in terms of safety.

“This one has air packs that are built into the seats, so when the guys roll up to a fire, they’ve already got the air packs on,” he said. “Otherwise, they would have to run around the side of the truck, pull the air packs off, and put them on, so that speeds that up for a structure fire quite a bit.”

Other projects the Manning Fire Department is working towards includes replacing their current airpacks, which are getting close to their 15-year life span. Purchasing new air packs will amount to $120,000.

Barsby said they’re applying for a grant to help pay for expenses. Otherwise, the fire department will need to use its own money.

However, Barsby said he feels fortunate for the financial support the fire department received from the Manning community.

“The community has been very supportive of this department,” Barsby said. “This is how we built the station, they donated a lot of money, and they have donated a lot to help fix-up that truck that we just got.”

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