New fire truck pumped for service

By Ryn Gargulinski: QUAY COUNTY SUN

What’s red and yellow and lime and white and found all over? The answer is a Quay County fire truck, according to District 1 Fire Chief Gerald Lucero, who has been fighting Quay County fires for more than two decades.

Of course, Lucero is not referring to one truck sporting all those colors, but all the trucks in the county, each one in a different shade for identification purposes at a fire.

Lucero is talking about fire trucks in the first place because a new one in canary yellow recently arrived in his jurisdiction, which is headquartered at the Camino del Coronado fairgrounds.

The new truck, a pumper that holds 1,000 gallons more water than their other pumper, cost nearly $250,000 and has been a long time coming, said Lucero.

“It takes about one year (to get a new truck),” Lucero said, “doing all the paperwork and getting the funds from the state and stuff.”

He said the process involves pooling monies from the District 1 fire fund budget coupled with loans from the state fire fund, which will be repaid over time by the district.

The vehicle not only holds 2,000 gallons of water, but weighs in at more than 34,000 pounds — with an empty tank. No, Lucero said, there is no CD player, but the brand new vehicle sports a finely primed engine and all new equipment from the Smeals Fire Company in Snyder, Neb.

Lucero said the new truck is a much-needed addition to District 1’s array of firefighting machines; they have eight trucks total, with only six in working condition. The district’s firefighting unit, which has been up and running since 1964, is staffed strictly by volunteers, just like every other firefighting team in the county.

District 1, however, is not the only one in need of a new fire truck — nor is it the only one scheduled to receive one.

The Forest Fire Department is expecting a new truck soon themselves, a topic discussed at the July 11 Quay County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Once again, the turnover takes several months.

“You order a fire truck and a year later you get it,” said County Commissioner Franklin McCasland, who noted the steel shortage may be partly to blame for the slow delivery. It also takes a while to file the mounds of paperwork required for such a request, said officials at the meeting, the cost of which will weigh in at more than $300,000.