The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 27, 2006

From trash to tanker: Program aids rural fire departments

By Melissa A. Wabnitz

Transcript Staff Writer

GOLDSBY — It may seem unlikely, but the same tanker truck used to transport water to firefighters in Slaughterville, Little Axe, Cedar Country, Lexington and Blanchard may have seen the front lines of war in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Since 1980, a little-known Forest Service program, based in the heart of Oklahoma, has been outfitting rural Oklahoma firefighting units with surplus vehicles from the Department of Defense, among other governmental agencies.

Jim Pitts, of the Forestry Services Division of the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department, said the 940 rural and “small town” fire departments he contracts with throughout the state have access to the surplus equipment. And, under the new Fire Fighters Property Program, they get to keep the it.

“We get on the Internet and can look at the property anywhere,” Pitts said. “Usually it says very little about the equipment, so we call and ask, ‘Is it running? Tell us a little bit about it.’ … We try to get the best of the best.”

If the screeners like what they see and the scheduling works out, the crews load up one of the department’s massive transporters and haul it back to Oklahoma.

Allen Schneider, Little Axe Fire chief, said in past years his department would receive vehicles from the Goldsby location, outfit them, and ultimately return them to the Forestry Department once they were no longer useable.

“Now, these actually can become our vehicles, titles and all,” Schneider said. “They just ask that we build them into functional firefighting apparatus. The one we just got was a 1985 Freightliner and we’ve been asked to paint it, put a tank on it, put a pump on it and make it into a tanker in six months.”

The $5,000 to $6,000 it may cost to outfit the government trucks is a far cry from the $15,000 to $20,000 Schneider estimates they will be worth when completed.

“Without this particular program, it would be very, very expensive to run our fire department,” he said. “We’d have very old vehicles and we wouldn’t be able to update the equipment as easy.”

Melissa A. Wabnitz


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Norman High student argues his way to the top

    Knowing the ins and outs of an argument that involves complex research is the type of skill one expects a high paid attorney to have not a high school student. Yet debate competitor Nicky Halterman has been arguing his way to the top of ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Baker home 3 Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Casey Dawn Sanders, 37, obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud · Amiremad Nayebyazdi, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • OU officials confirm student died in car wreck

    University of Oklahoma officials confirmed Tuesday that recent car wreck victim Taylor Witcher was an OU student in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Witcher died after a three-car collision around 12:35 a.m. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged after Sunday shooting A Norman woman was charged after shooting several rounds toward a residence Sunday. When officers found her, she exhibited signs of intoxication and had drugs on her, records show. Teresa Renee Haas, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Medical marijuana initiative behind voter registrations push in the state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Medical marijuana may be the state’s newest gateway drug — to voting....

    July 30, 2014