New truck ready for fire or rain

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, October 20, 2018
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Ready to Roll

READY TO ROLL (ALMOST) – Decatur firefighters Aaron Mann, left, and Levi Rust show off the newest addition to the department’s fleet of vehicles: a wildland fire vehicle that can also be used for high water rescue. The former military vehicle has been outfitted with firefighting equipment. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur Fire Department has a new tool at their disposal for fighting wildland fires.

Fire Chief Mike Richardson said the department recently received the truck through a grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service and its partnership with the Department of Defense.

“They select surplus trucks that are just in excellent condition and give them to the forest service. The forest service takes them in, puts them through their fleet program down in Nacogdoches, and then makes sure they are in really good shape, and then we can apply for them,” Richardson said.

In addition to the truck, DFD received a $20,000 rebate to help cover the costs of converting the truck from a military vehicle to a firefighting vehicle. Richardson said the department has spent about $30,000 equipping the truck with firefighting capabilities, meaning they will end up paying about $10,000.

“Cliff Oates done most of that,” Richardson said. “Cliff being our resident mechanic, he’s gone all through it and said it was impressive – basically like a brand new truck.”

Despite being a 20-year-old truck, it only has 7,400 miles on it.

The need for a wildland fire truck came about after their primary brush truck was severely damaged in a wreck earlier this year. That truck has now been repaired.

Richardson said the department tries to maintain two large wildland trucks.

In addition to wildland firefighting capabilities, the new truck is also classified as a high water rescue vehicle.

The truck is nearly completely equipped. The department is just waiting on a few more small parts to come in. The truck has been painted in the department’s colors and passed inspection.

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