There are new concerns for Texomas volunteer fire departments. When we hit freezing temperatures it does not take much for a fire trucks pump to freeze over. Newschannel 6 spoke with Henrietta's VFD. We are told it takes a lot of time and money to keep a trucks pipes from freezing.
Henrietta fire Chief Mike Roberts tells us it is crucial during the winter season for all fire departments to keep a close eye on their trucks. If a trucks water tank is not monitored correctly that water tank could freeze over.
Chief Mike Roberts comments, "When it gets really cold down in teens these trucks will freeze. If that pump doesn't work you can't pump any water. A house can burn because a pump froze up." That is why Roberts says the key is to keep water re-circulating constantly inside the truck.
Any bit of frozen water inside a trucks pump unit can cause a handful of problems. Roberts says hoses can tear inside causing less water pressure, nozzles can break, and a trucks pump can get damaged all together. That is more than any volunteer fire department can afford. Roberts says. "These are high dollar pumps and the labor to put them in is high. Pumps can run from 25 to 30 thousand dollars depending on what pump you've got."
But to save a pump from any type of damage re-circulating water, Roberts says will also drive up costs. "You're hooked up to your fuel tank on your trucks and when you run the pumps some of the trucks got their own separate gas tank. It does burn a lot of fuel."
And once a truck is back, keeping a well heated station is important so trucks will be ready to roll when needed. But gas is also an added expense. Roberts comments, "Our bill probably went up a thousand dollars more than what it usually runs."
Chief Roberts hopes as we approach every VFD's busiest fire season residents will keep them in mind. "People wouldn't realize how much money it does take with tire, motor, and everything else. And we don't charge anything to go. The people in Henrietta or surrounding counties should help your fire departments because they need the help."
Henrietta VFD tells Newschannel 6 during the winter season the majority of fire calls they get involve portable electric heaters. They cause a lot of house fires. They advise everyone to turn heaters off while unattended, that also includes overnight while you are sleeping.