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Sumas fire district to convert Army truck to high-water rescue vehicle, fire engine

Army vehicle acquired by WCFD14 to be converted for use as a fire engine and high-water rescue vehicle. Source: WCFD14

SUMAS, Wash. — Officials with Whatcom County Fire District 14 (WCFD14) announced today they have acquired a 2002 Stevenson M-1083 5-ton, 6-wheel-drive truck from the US Army. They have plans for it to be converted into a wildland fire engine, as well as a high-water rescue vehicle.

Once modifications are completed, the vehicle be used to fight wildfires as a Type III fire engine and, since it will be able to drive through 50 inches of water, it will serve as a high-water rescue vehicle.

WCFD14 Fire Assistant Fire Chief David Moe said, “This truck will be a very capable addition to our Sumas station, both for flooding, and for wildfire. While we hope we never have to use it for flooding, it will certainly be a good asset if it happens again.”

Work on the vehicle has already begun at the Sumas station by staff and volunteers.

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Moe said he saw a similar truck being used by the National Guard during their response to the mid-November flood disaster and saw how it performed in the high water. He contacted the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and asked them to locate 1 through their Firefighter Property Program. Soon after, they contacted Moe to let him know they had located a truck and for the cost of having it transported WCFD14 could have it.

In addition to locating and making the truck available, DNR used state funding earmarked to assist rural volunteer fire districts in improving their wildfire capabilities to provide WCFD14 with a $20,000 grant to help cover the costs of bringing the truck up to operational standards and the modifications needed. Moe said, “The rest of the project will be funded through other grants and district funds.”

Moe said he has been able to acquire 3 other vehicles through the DNR’s Firefighter Property Program and all 3 remain in service.

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