A new fire-fighting unit has joined the fleet at the Morenci Fire Department, and it came at a very attractive price: $0.
When an area resident watched the department maneuver across open fields to fight a fire, he learned the two all-terrain vehicles in service were actually borrowed.
The department was given the go-ahead to select a unit and the cost was covered through an anonymous gift—about $12,000.
A six-wheel Polaris Ranger was chosen, Schisler said, because the department believed the flotation factor was very important. Schisler knew the unit would allow access to areas off road where a larger truck would get mired down. He never enjoys having to call someone with a tractor to pull a truck out of a muddy field.
The ATV is equipped with a 70-gallon water tank, purchased by the Morenci Fire Sirens auxiliary group; a Honda high-pressure water pump; a booster reel with 75 feet of hose; and a two-way radio.
A pair of ground-sweep nozzles are mounted on each corner to allow push-button, one-person operation, if necessary.
During a test of the unit, the use of a nozzle and the ground sweep unit provided eight minutes of water from the 70-gallon tank.
The ATV is also equipped with a Class A biodegradable foam system for initial flame knock-down. This leads to more efficient use of water.
The cost of equipping the unit was paid through donations or through the use of materials already owned by the department.
Schisler sees possible uses beyond fire fighting.
“We’re in the process of fabricating a holder to carry a Stokes rescue basket,” he said.
The Ranger could then be used as a rescue unit to reach territory inaccessible to an ambulance, such as in the case of a hunter falling out of a tree.
The department’s larger brush unit—a truck that also came through a past donation—will be used to tow the Ranger to the scene.
Trailer donations came from Raymond & Stutzman Farm, Harry Burdick, Inergy Automotive (Adrian), Roth Fabricating, United Bank and Trust, Pennington Energy Corporation, General Broach, Haas Door (Wauseon), CC Motors, Crop Production Services (Morenci) and the Morenci Fire Association.
Roth played an additional role by allowing employee and department member Phil Funchion to use factory equipment to do some assembly work.
Schisler said the department has tried for years to secure a grant for an ATV through a nation-wide program, but thanks to a generous donation from a local individual, they can stop submitting that application.