County approves purchase of needed fire truck

By Robert Pierce
Southwest Daily Times – March 9, 2017

R.I.P. – Seward County Fire Truck

Though no lives were lost in the midst of this week’s fires in the area, several homes did meet their end, as did one of the Seward County Fire Department’s brush trucks.

“Yesterday evening during the middle of our fire fight, we lost one of our brush trucks,” County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley said Tuesday at a meeting of the Seward County Commission. “It was an older truck. It was overtaken by fire. However our crew was safely evacuated from the area.”

Barkley said firefighters had some other occurrences happen Tuesday, and he said the department’s truck situation, particularly brush trucks, is at a critical level.

“We have two brush trucks,” he said. “We have one that’s waiting to go into the shop, one that is in the shop at the moment due to a pump issue, and they are working to fly a pump in go get it back in service.”

Barkley said fire department officials reached out to two different companies to find a truck that was immediately available, and one was found.

The truck is a 2016 Rosenbauer 1250 GPM RXT Maverick, with a Freightliner M2 106 4X4 two-door chassis and a Cummins diesel 300 horsepower engine.

The new truck likewise has the following features:

• Allison automatic transmission;

• 1,500-gallon tank;

• 1,250-gallon-per-minute pump;

• Rear reel line;

• Ladders included;

• Pike poles included;

• Hard suction included;

• Pump and roll; and

• Front bumper turret.

Because of the pump, Barkley said the new truck will be a little more than what was lost in the fire.

“This truck will get us a nicer rating for a structure engine,” he said. “It can also be used as a water tender and as a brush truck with the way it’s set up and designed.”

Barkley said the truck, which came off the production line in Dec. 2016, was shown to agencies in South Carolina and is available to Seward County at a cost of $296,000.

Tuesday, Barkley said the truck was being moved to Lyons, South Dakota, and he estimated it will be in Seward County by March 24.

Barkley said he and another firefighter will be flown to South Dakota in 14 days, and they will drive the truck back from there.

The chief said the truck lost in Monday’s fire fight has been recovered and stored by a local towing company. He added the cab on the truck is melted and everything is gone.

Barkley said there is currently $451,000 in the Rural Fire Equipment budget, more than enough to cover the cost of the new truck.

The lost truck was a 1955 model, and Barkley said after a dangerous day of fighting fires in the region, a lost truck is sometimes part of the process.

“Unfortunately, when you’re out working hard, things tend to break,” he said. “That’s why we have a repair budget.”

Barkley said the lost truck stalled in the middle of being engaged with crew in a fire attack.

“We had a crew of three on that truck,” he said. “We went to engage the fire with the hope of keeping it where it was at. With the wind gusts that were coming in at 52 miles per hour, the fire grew very rapidly. The truck stalled. The crew tried to defend up to the point when I pulled up and told them to get their butts in my car. We drove through fire to get out. I’ll write off a truck any day to save lives.”

Commissioner Jack Jacob moved to purchase the Rosenbauer truck and waive the county’s purchasing policy due to the emergent nature of the need.

Jacob’s motion likewise called for the county clerk’s office to cut a check “to get this done quickly.” The $296,000 total will come from the county’s Rural Fire Equipment budget.

Commissioner Ada Linenbroker seconded the motion, and the board voted 4-0, with commissioner Randy Malin absent, to approve the purchase.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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