VIDEO: Maui Firefighter Takes Pride in Engine Name

November 12, 2009, 3:36 PM HST · Updated January 4, 9:14 PM
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By Wendy Osher

The Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety today dedicated two new fire apparatuses and a mini-pumper truck. The two engines replace aged equipment that will be retired from the front lines after serving the county for more than 15 years each. The older equipment will remain with the MFD fleet as relief apparatus.

Engine 13, serving Kula was named Ikua, after the famous Maui paniolo or cowboy from Ulupalakua Ranch. Purdy's great-grandson, Parish Purdy is a Firefighter I with the Makawao Station. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Engine 13, serving Kula was named Ikua, after the famous Maui paniolo or cowboy from Ulupalakua Ranch. Purdy's great-grandson, Parish Purdy is a Firefighter I with the Makawao Station. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Purdy family was on hand for the blessing of a fire truck named in honor of the late paniolo or cowboy, Ikua Purdy. The litteral translation of "Ikua" is "a time to stand." Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Purdy family was on hand for the blessing of a fire truck named in honor of the late paniolo or cowboy, Ikua Purdy. The litteral translation of "Ikua" is "a time to stand." Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Fighter III Kyle Farm selected the names for the vehicles that will serve the Kula and Paia districts. Engine 13, serving Kula was named Ikua, after the famous Maui paniolo or cowboy who worked for 30 years as a foreman at Ulupalakua Ranch.

“Ikua is an older name for the month of October, which is Ikuwa with a ‘W’, made famous in the chant, ‘I ku mau mau, I kua.’ Ikua literally means a time to stand-that’s what we do-when we answer a call or emergency, we rise up to meet that challenge in the same way Ikua Purdy did in his many feats,” said Farm.

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The Purdy family was on hand for the blessing, including Firefighter I Parish Purdy from the Makawao station, who is the great grandson of Ikua Purdy. “I’m honored and surprised, but the name is fitting because of the role the engine has in protecting life. It will also serve the district where he (Ikua Purdy) once lived,” said Purdy.

Ikua Purdy stunned the American West by winning the 1908 World Roping Championship in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he roped his way into history. He was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and is recognized for his legendary riding and roping skills.

Both engines are outfitted with Compressed air foam systems that will allow the department to battle wildland fires with less water. They are 2009 models that are able to pump 1500 gallons of water per minute. Engine 13 also has a 2-speed rear differential to help climb and descend the steep roads upcountry. The E-One built engines were purchased with county funds at a cost of $541,970 each.

Engine 2, serving Paia, was named Ka Pukaua Ahi Kanana that is literally translated as Ferocious Warrior or Champion. The naming of the vehicle was taken in part from the name of the old truck, Maka Koa, or Fierce Warrior.

“Pukaua is a general or champion, on the field of battle and a leader of men. Ahi refers to the fish. When our kupuna (elders) caught the fish, there was a story of how they pulled the line so fast over the gunnel of the canoe, it created fire. Hence the name,” said Farm. Kanana, the last part of the name, means ferocious.

The mini pumper truck for Paia was blessed with the name Peahi, which most recognizably refers to the surf spot also known as Jaws in the Paia District. Peahi has several meanings, one referring the fan formation the waves make as they break and spit out over the bay.

“It can also mean to humble fire,” said Farm who explained that “pe” in the word “pepehi” means to strike and fall flat, while ahi means fire.

The Mini 2 pumper truck is designed to allow personnel to gain access to more remote areas quicker, that otherwise would be inaccessible with larger equipment. The truck was purchased at a cost of $183,275 and replaces a 1978 model mini pumper that will now be used as a relief apparatus.

(Video by Wendy Osher. Blessing conducted by Fire Captain Amos Lonokailua-Hewett. Vehicle names selected by Fire Fighter III Kyle Farm.)

“A lot of time and effort went into acquiring these emergency response vehicles, which will enable our fire personnel to better protect our community,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares. “It took a lot of planning and perseverance to obtain the necessary funding, especially during an economic downturn.”

Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray noted that the addition of these much-needed vehicles would not have been possible without help on many levels. “We are very grateful for the support of Mayor Tavares and her administration, the County Council, the Fire & Public Safety Commission and our dedicated staff, who pushed forward to make this happen,” he said.

All three vehicles were purchased with County funds, and were manufactured by E-One in Ocala Florida, represented by HT&T on Oahu. Assistant Chief Alan Cordeiro oversaw the purchasing process.

*** If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our story on the blessing of the Maui Fire Department’s Hazmat truck, Kaimiloa.

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