Westwood Fire Department purchases wildland fire engine

Engine 924 was recently purchased by the Westwood Fire Department with money earned last summer by renting a type 2 engine to Cal Fire. The type 3 wildland fire engine cost $83,828.55. According to Forest Duerksen, the fire chief for the Westwood Fire Department, it was a much needed apparatus.

In an email to the Westwood PinePress Duerksen wrote: “In the past we would respond to wildland fires in our two type 2 engines, both were not meant to be off the pavement, so getting them to the incident required much abuse. Last year Engine 921 and 922 responded to a wild fire in the George Young Park area, both were delayed because of the terrain and one suffered damage, where our new Engine 924 wouldn’t have had these issues. We will be able to assist Cal Fire in the areas surrounding Westwood, and it gives us the ability to better help our surrounding neighbor communities.”

The recently purchased type 3 engine was found on “Truck Site,” a website that advertises used commercial vehicles for sale in the Sacramento area. As soon as Duerksen picked the truck up, he began preparing it to meet the rental criteria for Cal Fire. He worked from a list the state agency provided.

The truck needed to be stocked with hose and tools. Also a radio was installed, and pump test records provided. A mesh screen was installed around the air intake to prevent the motor from sucking in a hot ember that could cause the engine to catch fire.

Once Cal Fire confirmed the Westwood Fire Department had completed the list, the engine was inspected for mechanical and safety issues, followed by a test drive.

During the fire season, the local Cal Fire stations assist other areas of the state and this depletes equipment needed to fight fires locally. At these times, engines are rented from local fire departments to provide continued coverage.

Duerksen wrote in an email, “Our goal on renting out Engine 921 was to earn enough money to purchase a type 3 wildland engine so we could keep from damaging our other two engines that were not designed for such abuse. I’m happy to say that we came out better than I expected! We are very happy with our new Engine-924.”