Washington Township adds bigger water truck

May 20—The Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department has added a larger pumper truck to its arsenal of equipment.

WTVFD added a specifically built 3,000-gallon pumper truck to replace a 1992 model that only carried 1,800 gallons of water.

"We are keeping it at Station 2. It will run with the rescue pumper so that when we show up with those two trucks, we will have 4,000 gallons of water," said Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Gray. "At station one we have an engine with 1,800 gallons and a tanker with 3,000 gallons, so we have the capability of showing up on a scene with around 8,000 gallons of water."

Fire officials say that since there are not a lot of hydrants in the township coverage area, early water delivery is a key in fighting a fire.

"That gives us a very good start. It takes around 4,000 gallons to fight a one to two room fire," said Gray. "That can significantly slow down a fire until more water can arrive. It's a big plus for us. Having a large amount of water available for the initial attack is a key to saving property."

The $218,000 truck is not totally new. The department had it built on a 2010 Peterbuilt chassis with a new tanker and pump, specifically for the fire department.

"We went to Orion, Illinois. It is used but was built to be a firetruck," said Washington Township Trustee Michelle Guy. "It took 14 months to build it. We replaced a 32-year-old firetruck. We are just at that stage where we need to replace some old trucks. Time is going to catch up on us. It is a used truck but built for our use now."

Gray says the truck and its large water payload is designed to off-set the problem all departments have in getting people to battle fires, especially during weekdays when people are at work.

"One of the main reasons we went this route with the big tank is that if you only have three guys there it is really critical. This way two to four guys can start an exterior attack on a fire," said Gray. "We really need for more volunteers, especially to respond during weekdays."

The new truck is in service. The old one was sold to a small department in Kentucky for $35,000.