Pelham officials donate fire engines

Published 10:38 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Pelham City Council voted on Monday to donate a fire engine each to the Brierfield Volunteer Fire Department and the City of Westover Fire Department.

Brierfield Fire Chief Spruce McRee said Station No. 1 is now equipped with two working engines. The department recently donated a third engine to the Six Mile community, which is now a part of Brierfield’s territory.

“We offered to extend our protection to Six Mile based on certain criteria like having a man and crew.” McRee said. “They showed up with 24 eager volunteers. The enthusiasm down there is through the roof.”

McRee said the engine will help the department better execute its rural water shuttle operations. McRee and former Pelham Deputy Chief Mike Howell have been approached by the Alabama Fire College to design a statewide training course on water shuttle operations. The men are also working with Shelby County officials to organize a tanker task force that will assist rural and municipal departments with developing a constant water supply.

“Being a rural firefighter, we don’t have the advantage of having fire hydrants like everybody else does,” McRee said. “We know how to expertly supply water to these communities and can provide a continuous water supply for whatever their needs are.”

Pelham Fire Chief Danny Ray said the engine donated to Brierfield would be coupled with Brierfield’s 3,000-gallon tanker and tankers from across the county to form the task force.

“This tanker task force will be available to respond throughout the county to provide a water supply in areas where fire hydrants are either not available or at a distance where laying a supply line would not be feasible,” Ray said. “The tanker task force would be a great mutual aid asset to our department for fire or hazardous materials operations on Interstate 65 where we have very limited access to fire hydrants.”

Pelham’s donation also allows the City of Westover Fire Department to have a second engine. Firefighters will then use the engine for training and back-up to the department’s primary fire engine.