Equipment in time for fire season

Jim Crawford, a CDF engineer/ paramedic, holds a self-contained

GILROY
– Gilroy’s rural firefighting department is gearing up for the
fire season by purchasing more than a half million dollars’ worth
of new equipment.
GILROY – Gilroy’s rural firefighting department is gearing up for the fire season by purchasing more than a half million dollars’ worth of new equipment.

Included in the upgraded equipment are a new engine, a water tender supply truck and a mobile air trailer.

The purchases are approved as part of a planned upgrade budget signed by the county supervisors.

“These will all improve our capability to fight fires and save lives,” said Capt. Scott Palmer of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s South Santa Clara County Fire District, which serves as rural South County’s fire protection. “It’s a big support to have a second water tender.”

Water tenders are large trucks that supply water to fire engines during wild fires.

The new water tender, which can hold 3,000 gallons of water and cost $185,000, will be housed in the SSCCFD’s No. 2 Station on Masten Avenue. The department’s only other water tender is located at the No. 1 Station in Morgan Hill. The SSCCFD’s third South County station, the Tree Haven Station located near Bonfonte Garden’s at 3050 Hecker Pass, does not have a water tender.

The department’s No. 1 Station engine and water tender were manned by the first firefighters to respond to September’s Croy Fire, which began in the 7900 block of Croy Road and eventually burned 3,000 acres of South County foothills – the largest area wildfire in more than 50 years.

“Having available water tenders is very important to us because there’s not a lot of water supply for us working out in the country,” Palmer said. “(Water tenders) really make a difference.”

The new engine purchased by the department will replace the circa-1988 engine which use to serve at the Tree Haven Station. Tree Haven’s new engine is capable of pumping 1,500 gallons of water per minute; it holds 600 gallons of water. The cost of the engine is $335,000.

Engines get replaced an average of every 15 years, Palmer said.

South County fire’s new mobile air trailer – the vehicle which looks a lot like a horse trailer but contains fresh air for firefighters – was purchased for $31,000.

The trailer holds 4,000 cubic feet of stored, breathable air to supply firefighters’ air bottles during large fires.

Fire season in South County begins in May and goes through October.

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