Fire District 5 accepts new ladder truck from Tacoma

ELMA — Grays Harbor Fire District 5 commissioners formally accepted the donation of a new ladder truck at their Feb. 7 meeting.

The donation comes from Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., which operates a metals recycling yard out of the Port of Tacoma. The truck is a 1983 Pierce Dash model, with a 75-foot ladder, and includes a 750-gallon water tank, a 2003 Waterouse 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and scene lights and is pre-plumbed for a generator. It has a Detroit 6v-92 engine with 30,000 miles.

District 5 volunteer captain Chad Thomas, who works for Schnitzer Steel, helped facilitate the donation, as did Schnitzer Steel purchasing manager at the Tacoma site, Jim Osborne. Osborne is also a retired longtime volunteer firefighter and public education coordinator for the Riverside Fire and Rescue Department in Pierce County.

The Tacoma Schnitzer operation had a fire brigade and purchased the truck five years ago from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, according to District 5’s Capt. Adam Fulbright

The truck hasn’t been sitting around rusting, either, District 5 Chief Dan Prater said. Central Kitsap had been using it as a reserve truck and “kind of as a suppression sprinkler system,” Fulbright said.

It will help keep firefighters from risking their lives on roofs during raging structure fires, Prater noted. And in the case of chimney fires, they won’t be going on roofs at all, he said.

“An aerial device is huge for our agency,” Prater said. “A brand new aerial (truck) runs you half a million to a million bucks.”

And “this isn’t just District 5,” the chief added. “This is huge for East County that we’ve never, ever had out here.” The truck “will be available for mutual aid requests,” Prater said. “It’s a unique piece of apparatus with the nearest (other) one to us is in Montesano.”

“It’s going to be available for mutual aid response to our neighboring departments if they request it. So that’s why I feel it to be such a valuable asset to East Grays Harbor.

It will likely take about three months for the new apparatus to be operational and the crew trained in using it, Fulbright said, adding that residents in the area should also experience some benefits to their fire insurance plans.