By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
It took a while to get the newest member of Atmore Fire Department’s fleet to the city, but it didn’t take long for the new truck to start paying dividends.
The 2002 tanker, which features a 2,500-gallon tank, was purchased from Fort Myers, Fla.-based Bradford Fire Apparatus. Its acquisition was approved by the city council on August 23, and it exhibited its value just three days after being put into service.
Bradford, one of the nation’s largest sellers of restored fire suppression equipment, submitted the only bid at $112,000. Fire Chief Ron Peebles pointed out that four of AFD’s five pumper trucks hold 1,000 gallons of water, and one holds just 500.
“It took a while for it to get here because we had to bid it out,” Peebles said Monday morning [October 4]. “But we used it yesterday, and it worked really good. We put it in service Thursday [September 30]; by Sunday we were using it, and it did the job.”
The new tanker’s first test came when AFD was dispatched to assist Poarch Creek Indians Fire Department in fighting fires at two mobile homes on Truth Circle, a rural area near Interstate 65.
“We’ve been needing that on the outskirts of town,” Peebles explained. “Like yesterday, where the closest hydrant was a little more than a mile away [from the twin blazes]. We just don’t have that much hose.
“Normally, we would have had to shuttle water back and forth from there to the fire, but [Capt. Daniel] Love just pulled up, parked it and hooked it up to Poarch’s truck. It supplied our truck and the PCI truck.”
The presence of the massive water-hauler caught the attention of the Poarch firefighters.
“They were asking us when we got it,” he laughed. “I told them they could read about it in the paper.”
“It’s really going to be a big help,” he said of the department’s newest addition. “These trucks last forever, and this one is a really good one.”