Firefighters cleared out of the Beaufort Fire Station on Wednesday afternoon, but not to extinguish flames.
Their new truck had arrived.
The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department's new firetruck, Engine 3, will replace Engine 5, which was stolen and totaled in February 2012. Kalvin Hunt, then a Marine, is accused of fleeing naked from Naval Hospital Beaufort, stealing Engine 5 as it idled during a call at an apartment complex, then careening down Ribaut Road. The truck was totaled in a crash that also killed 28-year-old pedestrian Justin Nicholas Miller.
At about 4 p.m Wednesday, firefighters at the station went outside to see Engine 5's replacement, inspect its exterior and open the compartments for a look inside.
"They all want to play with their new toy," Capt. John Robinson said.
The firetruck was purchased by the town of Port Royal for $449,000 and built by Pierce.
Engine 3's arrival was delayed by insurance and legal issues, Robinson said. Then, the truck's design and features had to be negotiated with the manufacturer, a process Robinson said took about six months.
The truck has several upgraded features, including air conditioning, a taller cabin and a four-camera surveillance system. It will be based at Station 3, 1750 Paris Ave., in Port Royal, where Engine 5 also was kept.
The truck arrived to the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire District headquarters, 135 Ribaut Road, in Beaufort last Friday. It was then taken to Beaufort County Public Works to get a radio installed. It was returned Wednesday.
Firefighters will spend the rest of the week equipping the truck, which should be ready to make calls by Monday.
Engine 5 was purchased in 2006 to replace Engine 4, a 1996 model. After Engine 5 was totaled, Engine 4 was brought back into service.
Engine 5 now rests in a storage yard in Beaufort. The fire department was instructed by the city to keep the truck until insurance and legal questions were settled. Those proceedings are complete, Robinson said.
"It has almost no value," Robinson said. "I guess eventually we'll sell it for its scrap value, but right now we'll just wait. We're in no hurry."
Following the incident, Hunt was charged with murder, two counts of resisting arrest, six counts of hit and run with injuries, assault and battery, and grand larceny. A trial date has not been set, as 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone await results of a S.C. Department of Mental Health examination, Stone said.
Hunt is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center and has been denied bond.
Follow reporter Laura Oberle at twitter.com/IPBG_Laura.