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New Brush Truck In Service
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Escalon reserve firefighters Connor Coker, front, and Ron Gur check to make sure all the equipment is stored properly on the fire department’s new brush truck, which recently went into service.

A new Type 6 brush truck has been put into service for the Escalon Fire Department, funded primarily with a grant from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Essentially it carries 300 gallons of water and has a smaller capacity pump; it is built for wildland firefighting, it’s able to get to areas that are not accessible to larger engines,” explained Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello. “It carries hand tools, it has a portable pump so we can get water on site … it gives us a few more options.”

Mello said the department was able to purchase the truck as a demonstrator unit and the 2016 rig was manufactured by Boise Mobile Equipment, BME, out of Boise, Idaho.

“It was actually out here in California,” Mello said of the truck being available in state for delivery once the department was able to purchase it. “It’s a four-door cab; it has room for the driver and four passengers.”

The new brush truck was put into service officially on July 30 – and was utilized that same day on a grass and brush fire along Henry Road – getting used on its first day. Since then, said Mello, it has been quieter, with the rig taken out recently for display during the Aug. 7 National Night Out. There, local youngsters and residents had the chance to see the new truck up close but, thankfully, said Mello, it hasn’t been called in to service for any major fires in the last few weeks.

“We were awarded a total of $175,000 through the FEMA grant,” Mello said.

The department had to provide some matching funds, at a small percentage level, with $8,377 the department’s share of the purchase.

“When all is said and done, we will probably spend about $20,000 and that’s to get it fully equipped,” the chief explained.