Three members of the Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Department were sworn in as engineers in a Wednesday ceremony at the city's fire training center.

Three members of the Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Department were sworn in as engineers in a Wednesday ceremony at the city’s fire training center.

The new fire engine drivers – Villa Eans Sr., Sven Hipp and Quinton Wade – were administered oaths by Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney.

They were then badged by family members – Eans by his son, Villa Eans Jr.; Hipp by his wife, Amanda Hipp; and Wade by his mother, Lora Wade. Following their badging, Hipp received a congratulatory kiss from his wife while Eans was warmly embraced by his son and Wade drew a proud hug from his mother.

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. said he “always enjoys” taking part in such events.

He said the promotions represented “commitment” from the firefighters and further enhance “the safety, health and welfare” of the city and its residents.

“This is a big deal for me, a big deal for each of us,” said Eans. “Like the mayor said, it means that we can be of better service to the city. It’s an accomplishment, and we wouldn’t have been promoted if we hadn’t been devoted to our jobs and the people we serve.”

“It makes me feel good to know that I’ll have a better opportunity now to help serve the community and my co-workers,” said Wade. “We had to study and work for this promotion. It always makes you feel good to earn a promotion.”

Hipp agreed.

“It does mean a lot. Personally, it’s the next step in my career, and for all of us, it’s an opportunity to provide even more services for the public. And it will help us in training, too,” Hipp said.

Redus pointed out that in addition to battling blazes, fire fighters “frequently respond to a variety of other emergencies.”

“They are often the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to treat injuries or perform other vital functions,” said the mayor. “Also, Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services has a specialized hazardous materials team that’s responsible for the mitigation of any and all hazardous materials within the city limits, and outside when asked to respond to mutual aid.”

“The primary operational goal of the haz-mat team is to isolate, contain and stabilize the incident,” Redus said.

Redus said the department is respected statewide for its “level of professionalism and service,” and such a reputation couldn’t be attained “without the efforts of all the members of this department.”