Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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News: 08/01/2018

Fire department to add new engine, engineers

Kenwood firefighters are looking forward to replacing their 20-year-old pumper truck with a brand new truck expected to be ready in about a year. They are also taking on a new, paid engineer who will drive and operate the existing pumper and eventually the new one, as well.

The pumper, No. 3181, is the most often spotted truck in the district’s arsenal of fire fighting equipment, dispatched to almost every call that might involve putting out a fire – from vehicle accidents to wildland or structural fires.

The pumper is a Type 1 fire truck that carries 500 gallons of water on board and is capable of pumping 1,500 gallons a minute when connected to an adequate water source.

The old truck needed on-the-spot repair work during last October’s blaze, prompting the firemen and district directors to take a hard look at making the replacement.

Pumper trucks are not cheap.

The new one will cost the District $733,485.95. A huge surge in donations, prompted by the community’s appreciation of the incredible work done during last October’s conflagration, swelled the Kenwood Firefighter’s Association funds enough for them to contribute $335,000 toward the purchase. The Fire Protection District’s Board approved another $398.485.95 to pay the bill at the District’s July meeting, according to Fire Chief Daren Bellach.

The old truck will be kept in service for now, but no decision has been reached about keeping or selling it when the new truck arrives next year. It is being manufactured by Pierce in Sacramento under the auspices of Golden State Fire Apparatus.

Two engineers being sought

At the same time as the new truck was OK’d, the board agreed to hire one to two engineers to fully staff the fire house.

“We are hiring one engineer now to bring up minimum staffing to two responding people for every incident,” Bellach said. “Volunteers bring it up to three or four.”

One is expected to be hired right away, Bellach said, while a job search will be instituted to find the second candidate if approved at the August board meeting.

Engineers drive the trucks and are responsible for operating the equipment that is carried aboard and keeping it all in top condition. They work under the direct supervision of the chief. While all the fire fighters are important to the mission of saving lives and property, keeping the basic tools working smoothly is a top priority at any firehouse.

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