New Tanker a Mixed Blessing for LAVFD

It's one step forward and one step back for the Lake Arrowhead Volunteer Fire Department. The department recently acquired a new, state-of-the-art tanker truck. But, that addition is causing a few headaches.

"I don't have a place to put it," said Fire Chief Mike Hall. "It will not fit through my doors."

The tanker is 2 inches too tall and 2 inches too long to fit in the station bays. Chief Hall said he will have to "give a facelift to [the] department which, as everybody knows, takes money." Hall said a new building would cost around $35,000 and that doesn't include utility connections or a slab.

The department paid around $30,000 for the $185,000 truck. The rest of the funds came from a grant and a gift to the department. Hall said the addition is necessary because of the availability of water in rural areas. The tanker will mostly help refill the tanks on trucks that fight grass fires.

For now, the tanker will be kept at the maintenance area of Lake Arrowhead State Park. Park officials are offering the space free of charge. The truck will need to be kept in a heated building for the winter months. Water in the tank can freeze and diesel fuel can gel in cold weather.

But, the solution is only a temporary one. Hall said he is already looking into ways to raise the funds. In  the meantime, he said, there is no need for public concern. Hall said they can respond to fires just as quickly with the rest of the fleet.

"My biggest concern right now," Hall said, "is just a place to park it."

Tim Barnosky, Newschannel 6.