New equipment benefits Lake Valley Protection Fire District
A federal grant and a little bit of cash from a local grant have gone a long way to securing much-needed gear for the Lake Valley Protection Fire District.
According to Lt. Martin Goldberg, the district’s spokesman, a new water tender and air tanker will prove to be useful assets when fighting fires on two fronts.
“The water tender is something that we’ve needed for a long time and finally could use grant funding for,” Goldberg said Monday while prepping the new vehicle for a demonstration. “The fire district continually seeks funding where it can to improve the equipment and response capabilities.”
The water tender is a 65,000-pound behemoth that hauls 3,000 gallons of water to support the refueling efforts of fire vehicles. The two-man vehicle can transfer water at a rate of 700 gallons per minute.
“Having that much water on scene at a wild land or structural fire where there isn’t a hydrant makes all the difference in our ability to fight a fire,” Goldberg said. “It also helps serve our partners.”
Lake Valley obtained the vehcile through a joint Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security grant based on the area’s fire risk.
“We are very happy to get this because it replaces a much older model that technically wasn’t really freeway legal,” Goldberg said. He added the district’s status as a public safety agency provided them an exemption.
“You wouldn’t really have wanted to travel much in it,” Goldberg said.
The new water tender is built from a Kenworth truck frame and custom fitted with firefighting gear by Rosenbauer America.
The vehicle proved its worth when it was deployed to help combat the Kyburz fire between July 16 and July 20.
Fire engineer Nate Hagebach said the vehicle performed well over a 24-hour period.
“The thing was so awesome,” Hagebach said. He added that, while the water tender’s size sometimes limits it from traversing some narrow roads, the vehicle has been a powerful asset.
“We were just supplying water to the engines that were knocking down the fire,” Hagebach said.
The other piece of equipment, an air supply trailer, hasn’t seen use yet, according to Goldberg. The trailer is capable of refilling oxygen in firefighters’ portable tanks.
“We haven’t had much time to use it, but it will be a huge benefit,” Goldberg said.