INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — A large crowd turned out on March 19 for the traditional “wet down and roll in” housing ceremony for a new Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue fire truck at Station No. 27.

The 10 a.m. ceremony, which included a hosing down of the new apparatus using water from an old truck and wiping it down before rolling it into the station bay, was attended by local officials, including newly reelected Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy and outgoing Belleair Beach Mayor Joseph Manzo, as well as dozens of area residents and fire department family members.

To open the event, Suncoast Fire Rescue Chief Jeff Davidson thanked everyone for coming, stating, “This is a big day for Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue,” and noting it was the department’s first-ever roll-in ceremony.

“Fire trucks usually last about 15 years, so we don’t get to do this very often,” he said. The new truck will be stationed in Indian Shores “but would serve the entire area,” which includes IRB, Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Shores and part of Seminole.

After an invocation and prayer, a ceremonial ringing of the bell in honor of lost department members and the hosing down and wiping off of the shiny new Squad 26 truck, the rig was “pushed” into the bay by past and present PSFR members. After the truck was backed into the bay, Chief Davidson said, “Squad 26 is now in service!” to much applause and cheering.

“I love it!” Kennedy said after the ceremony, noting she’d never participated in a roll-in before. “It was awesome to see all the people here, especially the kids. Such a great event for our community.”

Chief Davidson agreed.

“It was a great ceremony and a nice day,” he said as he received many handshakes and congratulations.

“It’s a ceremony we don’t get to do very often — IRB has never had a housing ceremony — so it’s a great event for the community and for morale as well as for honoring those who have served the community.”