Correction and more info on fire protection in Devine area
Devine VFD’s tender truck (which hauls a majority of the water to the scene of fires) is broken down, beyond repair. It’s a pressing issue for the City of Devine and rural Devine community.
“Our other trucks, the fire engines, can carry 1,500 gallons of water, but on a house fire, that literally lasts about three minutes,” Chief Atkinson said. “If we have two engines there, that’s about six minutes that we have water to fight a fire. Whereas if we have a tender truck, it hauls around 3,000 gallons to the scene and goes back and forth to supply water to our engines as we fight a fire.
A new tender truck is estimated to cost between $350,000 and $500,000. Right now, Devine Volunteer Fire Department is relying on mutual aide to bring their tender trucks from other cities when a working fire hydrant is not available or there is a fire outside City limits where there are no hydrants.
“Our ESD is great and they can budget for the purchase of a tender truck in the future, but that might take a couple of years, and then once it’s ordered, it takes another year to build it. There aren’t a lot of good used tender trucks for sale, because fire departments tend to hang onto them as long as they can. So we are looking into grants, and we are speaking to city and county leaders as well, to see if they want to pitch in to make this happen sooner,” Chief Atkinson said.
NOTE OF ERROR LAST WEEK:
There was a misunderstanding in the headline of the article about fire hydrant testing in Devine last week. According to Fire Chief Greg Atkinson, 1 out of every 7 tested was not functional, a concerning trend, but not as drastic as the numbers reported last week which we had gotten backwards.
There are 125 fire hydrants in the City of Devine in all, and about 50% of them have been tested so far. With one in seven not working, and fire hydrants not being placed every 1,000 feet as recommended, the tender truck is important for fighting fires in city limits as well.
“They are already not spaced out at 1,000 feet (which is the length of hoses), so if you have a fire hydrant not working at the scene of a fire on top of that, then you’re really in trouble,” Atkinson said. “So far, we’ve not had that situation happen yet in the short time I’ve been here. We’ve been very lucky. And we are also fortunate to have area departments willing to provide mutual aide with their tender trucks, but there are times when you have a fire in your own community and you aren’t able to provide mutual aide.”
By Kayleen Holder