Brush truck revamped

Published 9:39 pm Monday, November 29, 2010

The Whaleyville Volunteer Fire Department recently received its brush truck back from a major overhaul that upgraded the firefighting technology onboard.

The truck, originally purchased in 1993, received up-to-date technology that matches modern standards. The vehicle’s plumbing and pump systems were upgraded, allowing the water supply to last longer.

“We’re pleased the Whaleyville VFD was able to upgrade a vital piece of firefighting equipment while saving money in doing so,” Suffolk Fire and Rescue Chief Mark Outlaw said. “The partnership between Suffolk Fire and Rescue and WVFD provides critical fire protection services to the borough and beyond.”

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In addition to the plumbing and pumping systems, all emergency equipment on the truck was removed and replaced, and the truck was sand-blasted and repainted.

The makeover cost about $20,000, while buying a new truck could have been as much as $100,000.

The new pumping system allows the truck to make Class A foam, which includes mechanically-generated bubbles that have a lower density than water. The foam is made by introducing air into a mixture of water and foam concentrate. The bubbles adhere to wildfire fuels and gradually release the moisture they contain. The bubbly water also absorbs more heat than water without bubbles.

The brush truck allows firefighters to battle wildfires more effectively. Because it is smaller, it can be taken into more areas than a regular fire truck.

The brush truck responds to all brush fires in the southern end of Suffolk and has given mutual aid to Gates County, N.C., in the past.

In a press release, Joe Asbell of Schadel Sheet Metal and Jim Villers of Villers Vehicle Works in Windsor, Va., were recognized for donating their time and talents to the project.