For the past 35 years, Gerald Metzger has been a staple on the Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) Commission. Today, he attended his last Fire District 7 Commissioners’ Meeting after deciding not to seek reelection this year.
Just before the meeting, two new fire trucks that WCFD7 had just taken delivery of were toured by the commissioners, staff and volunteers outside of the Washington Street Fire Station.
Both trucks were described by WCFD7 Assistant Fire Chief Dean Crosswhite as “Pierce Enforcer class A pumpers.” Pierce Manufacturing produces several lines of fire fighting apparatus and the ‘Enforcer’ line is built on a custom chassis and equipped with the latest electronics. One significant improvement, according to Captain Vic Pankratz, is all lighting on both rigs use light-emitting diodes (LED), which eliminates the need for large generators.
The new WCFD7 apparatus are white, unlike those in other Whatcom County fire districts and most of the nation. According WCFD7 historians, since the purchase of a 1957 Ford Roney fire truck and acquisition of a 1959 Dodge Roney from the City, all WCFD7 apparatus have been white, not the traditional fire-engine red. This is due to a study in the 1950s that indicated red fire trucks were getting in accidents because they could not be seen as well at night and times of low visibility. WCFD7 officials at the time considered the study results and decided, for firefighter and citizen safety, white color would be used on all fire apparatus.
Today 50+ years later, WCFD7 still holds to their tradition of white apparatus, noting on their website, “because our predecessors knew a firefighter’s and/or community member’s life was worth more than the cost of a fancy red paint.”
According to Pankratz, the new pumper trucks will replace a 1986 Pierce Arrow and a 1980 Seagrave. The older trucks will be surplused and made available for purchase.
Metzger attended Ferndale High School and received an honorary diploma in 2003. He did not graduate with his class since he was serving in the south Pacific at the time after being drafted into World War II. He received the Bronze Star and an Army of Occupation Medal as a result of his service. Metzger spent many years in construction and refinery work in addition to serving on the Fire District Commission.
Eric Grant was elected in the recent General Election to replace Metzger. Grant will be sworn in during the next Commissioners Meeting in January 2018.