Valley Mills tender truck

Posing with the check and the new tender vehicle are (from left) David Smith, Valley Mills VFD secretary; Fire Chief David Fisk, firefighter Sean Baxter and Matthew Schlaefer with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Texas A&M Forest Service photo

A grant through the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program made it possible for Valley Mills Volunteer Fire Department to replace an older truck with a 2013 tender with many updated features.

“Our main challenge that we face when responding to a call during the day is manpower,” Valley Mills VFD Fire Chief David Fisk said. “This new addition with its updated firefighting capabilities takes fewer volunteers to operate it and still get the job done.”

The new tender has a remote nozzle that can be operated by one person from the inside of the cab, 1,000-gallon water tank, 20-gallon foam tank with a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS), is automatic and has four-wheel drive. The tender is also equipped with LED scene lighting on the front and back.

“The ability to carry a large water supply is a great benefit because of the lack of water sources in our 350-square-mile service area,” said Fisk. “There are a few flush valves, but a lot of our region is remote and water sources are sparse. This tender also has the capability to draft from a river, creek, pond or swimming pool.”

According to Fisk, the truck was used three times in the first four hours after it arrived, responding to three grass fires. The first call was for a grass fire caused by a three-vehicle accident.

Valley Mills VFD has been serving its community since 1935 and is currently manned by 22 volunteers.

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