Exeter station fires up new units
exeter – Fire is on everyone’s mind this time of year. Over the last five years wild fires have plagued the Sierra Nevadas and large portions of Tulare County. And now with the 339-acre Three Rivers Dinely fire 100 percent contained, it just served as a preview of what’s to come. But Exeter is ready to help out when and where they can with two new additions to their fire station.
Last week the City revealed their latest project to the City Council, a new 2016 Ford F-550 XLT Super Duty chassis for Patrol 11 which was approved on June 23, 2015. The old Patrol 11 which was a 2005 Ford F-550 XLT Super Duty chassis was taken into the corporation yard where everything behind the chassis was removed, painted and placed on the 2016 Ford F-550 chassis.
During the same June 23 meeting the Council voted to buy a 1988 GMC four wheel drive, light duty, fire engine from the City of Farmersville. According to public works director Daymon Qualls, that unit was built by BMW Fire Apparatus and was equipped with a Stahl Utility Body and a new skid-mount pump. Qualls added that in December of 2015 public works staff began the process of equipping the new Patrol 11, 2016 chassis.
The 1988 GMC purchased from Farmersville Fire Department was in good shape according to Qualls, and was temporarily sent out on patrols. The new Patrol 11, the 2016 Ford F-550 was being outfitted with lights, radios, lettering and everything required to make it fully functional. When it was completed it was put into service while the 1988 GMC was sent back to be dismantled.
Leaving no useful part to waste, Qualls said that they installed the skid-mount pump from the GMC purchased from Farmersville to a new aluminum flat bed and placed it on the old 2005 F-550 Patrol 11 chassis.
“After some creative plumbing work, the unit was equipped with all of the necessary connections for grass/wild land firefighting, including some very cool spray bars on the front bumper,” Qualls said. “Aluminum boxes were installed on both sides of the bed, and a thru-compartment box, which was entirely fabricated by City staff, was mounted behind the cab. All of the wiring and lighting were simplified for more efficient operation.”
He said that the fabrication done by the City staff saved the City a lot of money for what is essentially a new Patrol 11 unit and a quality backup unit.
“I couldn’t even begin to calculate the cost savings to the City that resulted from their creative efforts,” Qualls said. “Special thanks and recognition should be given to our operations manager, Dan Espinola, his brother Gabe Espinola, and Rob Hubbard for their hard work and ingenuity that went in to making these build ups possible.”