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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

New Morriston fire truck found just down the road

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Months after adding a new fire engine bay to its Station Number Two, the Morriston Volunteer Fire Department now has a pumper truck to put in it.

Morriston's Oldfield Fire Station on Highway 289, between Horseshoe Bend and Glencoe, had used the new space for its 1981 pumper truck.

"We were trying to nurse the old pumper along, and have applied for a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management) grant to replace it, but it became a danger to use," Fire Chief Marshall Armstead said.

The water tank inside the pumper began rusting after years of use, and the rust would get in the hoses and nozzles when it was used during training.

"It would clog up nozzles so bad, water would just trickle out, which you can't have happen during a fire," Armstead said. "If we have a firefighter inside a burning house and the nozzle clogs, someone could get killed."

Because it would cost up to $60,000 to replace the water tank on the pumper, the fire department board authorized the chief to start looking for a replacement. While that normally means is a search and negotiation on the internet, and a long drive to check out or pick up the equipment. Armstead found a good used pumper right in his own back yard.

"The owner of Mr. Fuel in Ash Flat deals in fire equipment, and happened to have a pumper truck sitting there in the lot," Armstead explained. "We looked at it several times and the price was good, so we bought it."

The 1993 Pierce pumper can put out 1,500 gallons of water a minute and has a 750 gallon water tank -- the type of performance fire departments look for in a truck.

"We got it for $18,000, and I found one like it on the internet for $54,000," Armstead said. "That old (pumper) truck came from Chicago in 1990 or 1991, and the department put the water tank in it. It's been a good truck, but it is time to replace it."

A ladder rack on top of the pumper had to be lowered a bit, but it now fits inside the new 800 square foot bay. After equipping it with hoses and a radio, fixing some minor water leaks and adding two new tires, the new-to-Morriston pumper is ready to go.

The department still hopes it will be approved for a FEMA grant to help fund another pumper. A new round of grants will be announced in September.

In the meantime, Morriston is holding on to the worn out 1981 pumper, to meet a requirement that, if a grant is approved, the old model it will replace must be scrapped.

With expansion work complete at the Oldfield Station and an upgraded pumper in place, the Morriston Volunteer Fire Department's station two is looking good. The department will show the improvements off on Friday, Sept. 28. The women's auxillary will resume its monthly potluck dinners on that date.

"We took the summer off, but the potlucks are held the last Friday of the month, and everyone is always invited to attend," Armstead said.

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