New Fire Equipment Could Save Lives in Rutherford County
by Emily Luxen
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn.- Some ongoing water woes for firefighters in South Rutherford County could be ending thanks to some new equipment upgrades.
Thursday, Rutherford County Commissioners voted to spend $55,000 on two 2,500 gallon water tanks that can be mounted to donated trucks from the Solid Waste Department. This will allow firefighters to transport more water to a fire, and ultimately help them put the fire out quicker.
County Fire Chief Larry Farley said fire hydrants in the south part of the county have low water pressure, and this makes it difficult for firefighters to do their jobs.
"This will put into place a way to transport water at a low cost to the county," said Farley.
During the county commission meeting, some voiced concerns about the idea, and cited the fact that the aging trucks would not meet firefighting safety codes.
"Even if we bring these trucks up to code," said County Commissioner Matthew Young, "it was never designed to be a fire apparatus."
The majority of commissioners voted for the proposal. It will benefit the Christiana, Rockvale and Midland communities the most. Rockvale Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Walls says it will be a much need improvement that will help his crews in the field.
"We just don't have water every 1000 feet out here like we do in the city," said Walls, "I worry about the safety of my guys. If they get in a structure fire and run out of water, we've got problems."
Walls said currently, even on small structure fires, multiple units have to respond to put out the fire. The extra water will make a big difference.
"This will help save manpower," said Walls, "the most important thing is to get water on the fire."
Farley stressed this is still a temporary fix to the problem. Ultimately, he would like to get new tanker trucks which could cost as much as $220,000 a piece. For now, he said he is anxious to get the donated trucks out on the streets.