ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester Fire Department is adding 2 new engines to its fleet. As they celebrate the addition of the trucks, they're also reflecting on a tragedy that the department experienced decades ago.
Jerry O'Brien admired the fire truck that bears his dad's name.
"Unreal. This is really quite an honor," O'Brien said.
On December 24, 1953, firefighters Stanley O'Brien and Ambrose Riley died while trying to rescue a 9 year old boy from Silver Lake. The boy also died.
"The timing was right before Christmas, so it was a tougher time for us," O'Brien said.
Now, the Rochester Fire Department's 2 new fire engines are dedicated to Stanley O'Brien and Ambrose Riley.
"What those two gentlemen did that day, they lost their lives trying to save a 9 year old boy. And that's what the fire service is all about. Our mission is to save lives and protect property. And those two never quit, and they died trying," said Rochester Fire Chief Eric Kerska.
In honor of his dad, Jerry O'Brien took part in the traditional "push in" ceremony.
"Historically, the horses couldn't back the fire engines into the station. So we have this old tradition where when we have a new apparatus, we push it in for the first time into the station by hand, just like they did 100 years ago," Kerska said.
Jerry O'Brien also got the chance to stand on the very fire truck his dad rode on to Silver Lake on the day he died.
"That really pulls at my heart," he said.
He wants others to remember the sacrifices firefighters make to keep us safe.
"For my dad, he was a good guy, he was a hero," O'Brien said.
There was another ceremony where the second fire truck was dedicated to Ambrose Riley.