What's big, bright, and red all over?

Staff writer

Anyone spotting the new Ford pickup recently purchased by the Fourth Fire District in a parking lot or at the city building will have no doubt about the whereabouts of Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner.

“Yes, it definitely stands out,” Penner said. “But the service we’re in sort of requires that folks see us coming. No reason to be shy about who we are or what we are doing.”

The 2016 F150 is, well, fire engine red with an exterior light bar atop the cab and oversized yellow and white identification decals on the sides.

“Kind of hard to miss, huh?” Penner asked.

Peabody fire fighters began truck hunting several months ago after the chief’s former vehicle — an Explorer — developed serious transmission issues.

“We looked at quite a few used models, but they usually had high miles, a high price tag, and repair issues of their own,” he said. “This is a stripped-down model, no bells and whistles, but it will last us a long time. We really don’t put a lot of miles on the chief’s vehicle.

“This is definitely old school,” Penner said. “Basic vinyl upholstery, floor covering, and manual windows you have to roll up and down, that kind of thing.”

The truck does have four-wheel drive and a five-passenger super cab.

Penner was able to work through a friend to get the light bar at a good price with free installation. The truck decals were another good deal from a company that works with small emergency services departments at a reduced rate.

“It’s a good basic unit and will do the job,” he said. “We’re happy with it.”

Last modified Sept. 29, 2016