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

366-3550

mwabnitz@normantranscript.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Norman High Speech and Debate Team wins state championship

    Briar White’s heart pounded in his chest as he clasped the hands of several classmates and Booker T. Washington High School was announced as the second-place finisher. White said he was elated to hear second place announced because he ...

    April 16, 2014

  • General fund continues to decline as expenses exceed anticipated revenues

    Norman’s expenses will again outstrip projected revenue in the current budget before the city council. The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July and ends June 30, 2015, projects $210,982,020 in total revenues and $213,436,778 in ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Norman students accepted to arts institute

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Forty-nine Norman high school students have been accepted to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, an arts academy hosted June 14-29 in southwestern Oklahoma. The Norman students were among 270 artists ...

    April 16, 2014

  • OU History of Science Department receives Sloan Foundation Grant

    The University of Oklahoma History of Science Department has received a $350,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of a project to build an innovative tool for collaborative research centered on the 100-year-old Isis ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Norman High, North named top schools in nation

    Norman High and Norman North have once again been identified as two of the most rigorous high schools in the state and nation. The Washington Post’s 2014 Most Challenging High Schools list, the first of annual national high school ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma Water Survey data web portal to be demonstrated next week

    A new tool is available from the Oklahoma Water Survey, at the University of Oklahoma, for organizations in the state that collect and use water data. Oklahoma Water Survey Director Robert Puls will demonstrate Phase I of a new water data ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Norman teachers excited about professional development

    Norman Public Schools’ teachers are focused on students and want to take advantage of professional development, Beth Spears, director of Staff Development and Student Achievement, said was the overall response teachers had to a recent ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Social justice dialogue part of University of Oklahoma program

    The University of Oklahoma kicked off Justice Week with a public forum Monday titled “Luis Rodriguez: No en Vano.” Critically acclaimed author, Esmeralda Santiago discussed the “Transformative Power of Art,” while joining five panelists ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Storm scavengers now could face felony charges

    OKLAHOMA CITY— It wasn’t long after a devastating tornado hit Moore last year that scavengers were circling the wreckage. Already reeling, Moore residents had a new concern — fending off looters....

    April 15, 2014

Video
Facebook