Lakemont gets grant for new fire vehicle

The federal Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $233,000 grant to the Lakemont Volunteer Fire Company to help buy a new pumper engine, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, announced Friday.

Funds raised by the company with hoagie sales, chicken barbecues and annual calendar issues will pay for the rest of the approximately $625,000 cost, said Fire Chief Tom Sral.

The engine will replace a 1982 Mack pumper with a Bruco body, Sral said.

The new engine will be far safer, according to a Shuster news release.

The new one will have a fully enclosed cab, Sral said.

The old one has an enclosed cab that seats two, but an open section of cab with a bench seat that lacks seat belts, Sral said.

The new one will also have a roll-protection feature that decelerates the truck if it detects the beginning of a threatening tilt, Sral said.

And it will have airbags all around, he said.

The new truck will also have mounts for rescue tools on the front bumper, which will provide easy access for firefighters after trucks pull in to an accident scene, eliminating the need to go back and forth in what is often a narrow space between the side of the truck and passing traffic to retrieve tools from the back, Sral said.

The new truck will have a light tower to illuminate scenes like vehicle accidents or DUI checkpoints, he said.

It will also have more cargo space for rescue and firefighting equipment.

That will be possible largely because the pump control panel will be on the side at the rear, he said.

Having the pump panel on the side at the rear will allow firefighters operating the panel to see – at least a little – to both sides of the truck, Sral said.

It will also allow for the truck to be constructed 3 or 4 feet shorter than if there would be a center-top-mounted panel, he said.

That shorter truck will make it easier to enter driveways that have an abrupt transition in pitch from the road, he said.

The firefighting supplies that the new truck will be able to carry include Class A foam for fires fueled by traditional materials like wood and paper and Class B foam for fires fueled by liquids like gasoline or heating oil, Sral said.

The new truck will be able to carry life vests and rope, additional absorbent to clean up gasoline and oil spills, decontamination equipment and a winch, as well as multiple saws, he said.

And the new truck will carry 1,000 gallons of water – 300 more than the old one.

By the rules of the grant, the fire company must scrap the old truck or sell it to a dealer with a guarantee that it won’t be used in the fire service again, Sral said.

The rule is intended to help promote safety, and is applied in the case of Lakemont in recognition of the safety defects the company cited in the grant application, he said.

Lakemont has identified two firms that can build a new truck to its specifications and expects to identify two more before advertising for bids, Sral said.

It will probably take at least until the end of 2017 before a new truck arrives, he said.

“This pretty well sets us up for the next 10 years or so,” Sral said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.