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Fire department has new weapons against fighting fires

WEST CHAZY The West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department took delivery of their brand new, custom-built Peterbilt pumper/tanker fire truck last week. Over the weekend, volunteers turned out to help get the truck ready for service, loading axes, hoses, air tanks and other equipment onto the truck. On Sunday, painter Robert Weeks of Lyon Mountain and his wife Roxanne put on the final touch department information and the Fire Stomper logo. Our old one was nearly 30 years old, explained Fire Chief Anthony Guillily. It was time for a new one. The planning took nearly an entire year. The firefighters themselves purchased the Peterbilt chassis with savings accumulated from bingo, donations and other fundraisers. The West Chazy fire commissioners then decided through a referendum to finance the remainder of the $320,000 purchase price. Once the decision was made, it took five months to build the truck. The chassis was built in Canada, then shipped to Florida where the back end was assembled. The truck then made the trip to the dealer in Vermont, finally ending up at Champlain Peterbilt before being delivered to the department Dec. 27. The increased capacity of the self-sufficient 2007 E-1 tanker will give the department an edge in fighting fires. The water tank can hold 3,000 gallons versus the 2,500 gallon capacity of the old pumper, and can pump at a rate of 1,500 gallons per minute. The added foam system will also be invaluable in fighting chemical and electrical fires. In addition, the new truck comes equipped with a new thermal imaging camera, making a total of two such devices for the department. As Chief Guillily and Ambulance Captain/EMT Dave Lucia demonstrated how the camera works, Chief Guillily noted West Chazy was one of the first and may possibly be the only department in the Northern Tier to have one. The camera works by showing sources of heat such as people who may be hidden or injured, or concealed fires on the cameras black and white screen. The camera is so sensitive it can even reveal footsteps based on the bodys heat signature, allowing firefighters to track a victims path. Captain Lucia explained its an added tool to help locate possible victims, especially children who tend to hide under beds or in closets. But, we still have to use basic search and rescue techniques, he said. Now that its finally arrived, firefighters are anxious to learn to operate the new pumper/tanker. Its much higher and holds more water, so its top heavy, explained Chief Guillily. Everyone will have to go through special training before they can drive it. The new pumper/tanker joins the West Chazy fleet, which now includes a pumper, two tankers, a brush truck, an ambulance, a squad car, plus an old 1932 American Lafrance fire truck. The new truck is a replacement for the 1978 pumper, but it wont be retired. Instead, it will join the arsenal as an added water supply.

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