Evansville Fire Department Dedicates Newest Truck to Fallen Firefighter

The department named its newest fire truck in honor of James Pfender, who passed away on June 8, 2020. He was a decorated captain who served the community for 20 years.

Posted: Apr 27, 2021 10:26 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2021 8:50 AM

The community joined together at the Ford Center Tuesday as the Evansville Fire Department honored one of their own.

"Certainly appreciate everyone being here today on this brief, somber, momentous occasion," EFD Chief Mike Connelly said to the crowd.

The department dedicated its newest fire truck in honor of fallen firefighter James Pfender, who passed away on June 8, 2020. He was a decorated captain who served the community for 20 years.

Connelly said the dedication will ensure Pfender's legacy will never be forgotten.

"9/11 -- 'Never forget' came about and a lot of people took that phrase," he said. "The fire service has always carried that because we want to honor those who have gone before us."

It was an emotional day for all of Pfender's family, but especially for his father who, for more than decade, patrolled our streets as a member of the Evansville Police Department.

"He was a good, upstanding guy; just a good human being," said Pfender's father Thomas.

He said service runs in the family and he couldn't be more proud.

"It's something that a lot of people don't get and I feel that everything he did up to his last day, it was worthwhile," Thomas said. "He put every foot forward to make it a better community."

Now, his son's name will be memorialized on EFD's Ladder 1 -- a nearly million-dollar, state-of-the-art engine that boasts a 105 foot aerial ladder.

The fire department received the new truck in early April. The process of getting it was nearly two years in the making due to different processes like city approval and manufacturing.

The truck will be housed at EFD Station #1 on SE 8th Street and be used for the next 20 years -- the same amount of time its namesake, Cpt. James Pfender, served the community.

"It just means something that every time anybody drives down the street and if you forget Jim, you see this big truck coming at you and you read the name on the door, it'll all stand out," Thomas said. "And you'll go right back to all the memories you have of him."

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Temperatures were a heck of a lot more bearable earlier this afternoon - despite our northwesterly winds, temperatures peaked at 54° in Evansville earlier on and are expected to remain quite comfortable as we head into the evening hours. Expect temperatures ranging from 48° to 41° between 7 PM and 10 PM; though the added cloud cover over the coming hours will only allow temperatures to fall as low as 38° by early Wednesday morning. It's not all good news however, it looks as though some of us (especially those north of the Ohio River) could see periods of scattered rainfall throughout our Wednesday morning.
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