The S.M.A.R.T. Truck, started in 2005, is a spin off from the original Rehab unit. Often called “The Weenie Wagon”, York Village Fire Department was famous for the trailer that served steamed hot dogs, fresh coffee and refreshing drinks. The unit, once a trailer, would travel all over to fire and events. In the early days, the trailer was largely staffed by the Ladie’s Auxiliary, back then consisting of firefighter’s wives. Soon, the fire department outgrew the small trailer and upgraded to a used Mac Tools truck. The truck was repainted and outfitted with a state of the art…ok, maybe not state of the art, but a functioning kitchen along with a cascade system for filling SCBA bottles. Rehab 1 made a name for itself rather quickly.
In the late 1990s and early 2000’s Rehab 1 made multiple trips to calls all around York County and Southern New Hampshire. Serving up burgers, hot dogs, coffee, snacks and water, the Rehab 1 crew was well known in the firefighting community. Staffed by the more senior members of the fire department including Bruce Woodward, Dave Hilton, Ed Walsh and Karl Thompson, as well as some of the remaining Ladie’s Auxiliary members, it was always a treat to see the rig pull into an incident scene or training site. Bruce Woodward was always a site to be seen. His vocal personality, sideways hat and unfiltered commentary was eagerly welcomed and always recognized. He always kept the coffee hot and fresh and the burgers stacked up. One time Bruce even served up fresh Moose meat. In 2003, Bruce Woodward passed away after a battling a rare sickness. Not long after that, Dave Hilton passed away from a sudden heart attack. The voids were tough to fill.
In 2005, the York County EMA awarded the York Fire Department with grant money to replace the home-made kitchen on wheels with a state of the art, modern vehicle. The vehicle would be a large box truck, converted into a command center, kitchen and rahab. unit. It was then the S.M.A.R.T. Truck team was created. S.M.A.R.T., short for Southern Maine Advanced Rehabilitation Team, was offered to all areas in northern New England.
A 2005 International box truck was purchased. Members of the York Fire Department stepped up and built a modern kitchen and a sound proof interview room/command center in the box of the truck. A light tower was placed on the roof, a cascade system to fill SCBA bottles was mounted underneath and a multitude of radios, antennas, cooking equipment and rehabilitation equipment were added to the vehicle. The S.M.A.R.T. truck was nick-named “Big Bruce” after being lettered.
The S.M.A.R.T. Truck gained momentum soon after, drawing new members in to staff the popular rig. Today, it travels all over the region, from Alton Bay, NH to Acton Maine, down to Hampton, NH. Weather it be an incident lasting several days to a training lasting a few hours, the S.M.A.R.T. Truck is always readily available for service. The S.M.A.R.T. Truck is placed on many fire department run cards, making sure it arrives at every serious incident. If you have further interest in the S.M.A.R.T. Truck, feel free to give us a call or stop by to see it. To add the rig to your run card, simply pencil it in with York Dispatch’s phone number (207)363-4444.