Members of Warrenton Rural Volunteer Fire Department have devoted much of their time recently to preparing the department’s new Spartan Smeal Pumper Tanker so that it would be ready to go into service on Monday, Feb. 8.
Fire Chief Walter Gardner said that the pumper trailer marks the final result of a two-year design and bidding process with financing made possible through Halifax Electric Membership Corporation’s Co-op Community Loan Program.
The new truck replaces a pre-owned 1989 model pumper tanker that Warrenton Rural purchased in 2004.
“It served us very well,” Gardner said of the older model vehicle. “At that age, components start wearing out, and it is difficult to find replacement and repair parts.”
He noted that the old and new trucks have many similarities as multipurpose apparatus. For example, both have a 1,250-gallon capacity.
The new pumper tanker has a slightly lower pump rate than the older model — 1,500 gallons per minute compared with 2,000 gallons. However, Gardner said that with the ready accessibility of water sources within the town limits, the slower speed will make no difference in fire protection.
“We made the change (to the lower pump rate) after consulting the North Carolina Office of the Fire Marshal to make sure it would not affect our (fire insurance) rating,” he said.
The new pumper tanker arrived in late December. Since then, Warrenton Rural has worked to move equipment from the old truck to the new one. On Saturday, firefighters trained on the operations of the new pumper tanker. Additional training is ongoing.
The new truck represents a major upgrade from the old one, Gardner noted. Manual functions have been replaced by modern technology. The fire chief also praised the new pumper tanker’s new safety features and the increased amount of storage space which will keep equipment protected en route to and from emergency calls.
With the new truck, Warrenton Rural continues to maintain a fleet of seven vehicles — five larger apparatus, a first responder truck and a brush truck.
Gardner expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Halifax Electric EMC and its manager of Marketing and Economic Development, Brady Martin. The Electric Membership Corporation plans to hold a celebration event marking the official presentation of the loan in the future.