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New fire engine sports black paint, safety improvements

Walworth's is sporting a brand new fire truck.

Nick Maise operates the tower light on the village's new fire engine. (click for larger version)

June 22, 2011 | 08:26 AM
Walworth — The village's new $387,000 fire engine — which will replace one that is 23 years old — soon will be responding to emergency calls in the area.

The Pierce custom-built engine arrived more than 20 days ago, but wasn't immediately put on the road.

With new technology and safety features, Fire Chief Andy Long wanted to make sure his volunteer squad was properly trained on the engine before it hit the streets.

Computerized controls allow firefighters to use a foam and water combination to extinguish blazes.

"(The computerized controls) make it look more difficult, but once you learn it, it makes it easier," said Long, who is also the police lieutenant. "The technology in the truck is unbelievable."

The previous engine didn't allow for the use of any foam, which extinguishes fires faster.

Long said the foam and water mixture will be used on most of the calls in the community.

"We would prefer to use it in house fires," Long said. "We probably will use it on 90 percent of the fires we have. Especially on rural fires with no fire hydrants, it will use less water."

The new engine stores up to 1,000 gallons of water and 25 gallons of foam.

"We didn't want to short ourselves on water," Long said.

The new engine also includes a light tower that can be used during night fires.

One firefighter said it can make a "night scene into a day scene."

Nick Maise, who is the village's full-time firefighter and EMT, said the truck is equipped with a hydraulic ladder rack.

"It is above the side of the truck to maximize compartment space," Maise said.

Both Maise and Long agreed the engine should fit the village's fire needs in the future.

The engine is a little taller than most fire trucks, but that is because it couldn't be built any longer.

"Unfortunately, we had to build it to fit our station, which isn't abnormal," Long said.

However, the taller engine presents some problems with trees that hang over roads in the area, but Long said the department will adjust to that challenge.

Although the water capacity is nice, 1,000 gallons of water isn't enough to guarantee a large fire can be extinguished.

Recently, the department responded to a home that was fully-engulfed in flames on Alden Road. Long said 1,000 gallons couldn't have knocked out that large of a blaze.

"We could have a good knock down, but we would still need more water," he said. Tanker trucks bring additional water to emergency scenes.

It is primarily black in color, which not a typical color for a fire engine, but the color scheme was a little less expensive than the traditional red.

Long said the new engine is also equipped with numerous safety features.

"The truck doesn't move until all the seat belts are on," Long said.

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Walworth County