County firefighters are riding in style, a new paint and body style that comes with the delivery of several new fire engines and four new tankers.
The units aren’t just for oohing and aahing over, but are fulfilling a specific need in the county.
The engines, according to fire officials cost $599,000 each, and the tankers cost $350,000 per vehicle. A general scale of apparatus cost can be from around $500,000 to one million dollars or more, depending on the type and size of the vehicle. The new engines and tankers were a pre-planned purchase and were paid for from the regular departmental budget for apparatus replacement funds.
Bensley Fire Station had previously received delivery of a new ladder truck with the new paint scheme and body style. The previous ladder truck had been severely damaged in a crash when a reckless driver ran the firefighters off of Beulah Road when they were returning to their station from a call. The vehicle driver did not stop. No firefighters were injured in that crash.
Officials said the new color sand-graphic scheme was developed by the Standing Apparatus Committee and presented to the county fire chief for approval.
Two of the tankers replaced were 1993 and 1996 models respectively. Officials said the apparatus were needed to replace the aging trucks. The older trucks were in good condition but required an increasing level of maintenance and parts were becoming difficult to find. One of the older tankers was assigned to the fire department training division and the others will be sold.
Tankers are invaluable as the water supply when large brush fires or fires in rural areas occur, because most rural areas in the county have only a few or fire hydrants.
As the new Pierce Dash CF PUC engines and Pierce tankers were delivered, training on the upgraded units was needed, and firefighters dug right in and began to become familiar with the equipment and vehicles.
The tankers are able to pump a thousand gallons of water per minute. The old units could hold 1800 gallons of water, the new can hold 2500. The new tankers have a tighter turning radius, additional scene lighting, a camera system to monitor the tanker operations and other advanced technology. The fire engines can hold 700 gallons of water and have 1,500 gallons per minute pumps. They are also equipped with a special foam system. The engines also have larger cab and storage space.
The four new tankers went to Enon, Clover Hill, Phillips and Winterpock fire stations. The fire engines went to Dale, Courthouse and Harrowgate fire stations.