The Hillsboro Area Volunteer Fire Department recently took ownership of a new rescue apparatus. The new truck, dubbed Rescue 6, will serve as the department’s primary service vehicles. It joins a mini-pumper recently acquired from the Moulton Fire Department. Together, the new units revamp the volunteer operation and provide greater flexibility to serve the community.
The new apparatus is a 1991 E-One heavy rescue vehicle. It received an overhaul in 2011. Hillsboro purchased the unit from a fire department in Tunnelton, West Virginia. After negotiations, the department purchased Rescue 6 for $30,000.
The new, much larger service unit allows Hillsboro to reorganize their rescue and service tools for easy access. Both sides are lined with storage compartments. The rear contains a foam fire suppression system and heavy extinguishers on the left; on the right, there’s an air tank refilling system.
Housed under the apparatus is an on-site generator. On top, a remote light tower lays flat against the roof. When needed, it extends vertically to bathe the surrounding area in light.
The vehicle’s massive cab can carry a full crew of firemen.
Fire Chief Jason Jones expects the service truck to upgrade the department’s response capabilities.
“This one has more room for service equipment,” said Jones. “Plus, it’s more practical with having a bottle filling station. And… it has got an emergency scene light.
“It lights the world up.”
After looking for trucks from Lawrence to Seattle, Hillsboro was thrilled to locate an apparatus that fulfilled department requirements.
“This one just seemed like it met our needs,” said Jones. “I called and talked to the chief up there, and you could just tell you were talking to another brother fireman.
Jones, a fire marshal and battalion chief for Decatur Fire and Rescue and longtime volunteer, felt he was talking to a kindred spirit.
“I could just tell I was talking to another volunteer who was doing the same kind of mission we do,” said Jones.
The apparatus has a fire suppression system, but its purpose isn’t putting out fires. The system was a welcome bonus; many service units don’t carry fire prevention equipment.
“Service trucks don’t have to have any kind of water or any kind of fire protection stuff on them at all,” said Jones. “They’re just like a big tool truck.”
Located on AL Highway 20, Hillsboro doesn’t see an abundance of collisions. Nevertheless, Jones believes the unit’s capacity to carry heavy rescue equipment will help save lives.
“Out here, it’s like the autobahn,” said Jones. “We’re very fortunate that we don’t have a lot of wrecks, but if we do they’re usually bad.”
The department activated the apparatus for calls three weeks ago.
“Thankfully, we haven’t used it,” said Jones. “I hope it kind of stays that way.
The vehicle is the department's second acquisition in the past few months. In January, Hillsboro acquired a 1992 Ford One Ton mini-pumper. They plan to use the smaller unit as a multi-purpose scout and fire protection vehicle. It will provide an initial attack on car and structure fires, then notify the department if heavier equipment is required.
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