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Friday, February 27, 2009

Ghana: No water and firemen 'too old"

From the Ghanian Journal - Link

Fifteen families were last Friday rendered homeless after fire gutted the rooms they were occupying on the upper floor of a two-storey building near the main lorry station at Assin –Fosu.

All their belongings were burnt to ashes, while the roof of the building was destroyed.

Briefing the GNA on the incident at Assin-Fosu on Monday, Mr Alfred Otoo, one of the victims, said there was nobody at home when the incident happened at around 1520 hrs.

He explained that there was power outage in the town that day and that the fire reportedly started immediately after power had been restored and it was therefore suspected that some of the occupants on the floor must have left their electrical gadgets on.

He said personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in Fosu tried in vain to put out the fire and had to call for assistance from their counterparts in Cape Coast but the entire floor had completely been burnt by the time the team arrived.

Other people living within the vicinity the GNA spoke to, expressed anger that the local personnel of the Fire Service had been unable to put out the fire, because they were “too old”.

When contacted, the Assistant Divisional Officer of the GNFS at Fosu, Mr Tony Abraham, explained that a crew of firemen was dispatched immediately a distress call about the fire was received, but the water in the fire tender was not enough to put out the fire.

He also explained that the township had no fire hydrant so water has to be fetched into the fire tender from a stream in the next village, a distance of about 13 kilometres and that investigations are underway to establish the exact cause of the fire.

ASP Seth Doe, the Assin Fosu divisional crime officer said his office is yet to receive a report from Fire Service for it to carry out investigations into the incident.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

1957 Water tender still fighting fires

St. Elmo Fire Protection District has oldest water truck around

Cathy Thoele
Effingham Daily News

ST. ELMO — St. Elmo Fire Protection District may have the oldest water truck around, but it can still run with the best of them.

The water truck started out as a new fire truck when the fire protection district bought it in 1957. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the district converted it into a water truck.

It is the oldest water truck in operation in the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) 54 Division, which includes 23 departments in Effingham, Jasper, Fayette, Shelby, Cumberland and Richland counties, and has been used to haul water to every rural structure fire in the area where mutual aid is needed.

While parts may be a little hard to come by, St. Elmo Fire Chief Doug Engeljohn said the truck still runs good, earning second place in water hauling at a recent rural water shuttle class.

“It can haul water with the best of them,” he said.

The truck that has traveled 9,000 miles also shows no outward signs of wear with the 1,800-gallon tank still shining. The common tank size on most water trucks now is 2,000 gallons, according to Engeljohn.

Even though the truck still runs good, the fire protection district would like to replace it, but it has been unsuccessful in obtaining funding help. The district has applied for a fire act grant a few times and has been turned down each time. Engeljohn said he’s not sure why the district hasn’t been chosen to receive a grant to replace the old truck, but he isn’t dwelling on it.

“We got a water truck, and that’s the lot of it.”

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So this is it?: And I kept going back for more!

And I kept going back for more!

So I stayed with it and kept the job. So much worry and yet so much personal growth! I became more confident and capable than I thought was possible. Many of those guys watched over me and looked out for me. Others weren't kind. But I learned from that too. Not everyone HAS to like you and you will survive. Many of the farmers were impressed that I would go the extra mile for them. Always trying to remember to close their tarps, making sure that it was done the right way and offering a smile and conversation if they were willing to talk. But getting it done in a timely fashion too.

The family part was hard. In March of every year I'd begin to make casseroles, meatballs, bbq, what ever I could think if to have meals ready to heat and eat. As well as baking up a storm so the kids had cookies, etc.. The food in the freezer usually lasted until the first week or so of June. And then DH had to fend for the family and things would get yucky. Now mind you he did take over the laundry ( and still does to this day) and the kids had chores to help with the housework. Mom had Sundays off from work. After church I got the nitty gritty cleaning done and it was back to getting up and working 12-16 hour days 6 days a week.

My boss was very understanding about family. He said that I didn't have to come in to work until the kids were off to school. Since DH worked an hours drive away that meant that I was there to get the four of them up and ready for the day. The 2 older boys were in high school so they had practices, etc.. to tend too but we had it worked out that someone was home with the younger 2 elementary age kids. Many days I was the last one in to work and the other trucks and fertilizer applicators were long in the fields. Most night during planting season I was home about 8 pm. I was able to attend their evening concerts and most other events. The hard part came when the secretary would radio me that the school was on the phone and could I come pick up a sick child. That happened more than I care to remember during the 5 spring/ summer seasons I was there. My mom, God bless her, would usually come to my rescue.

And then planting was done and there was no need of fertilizer. I was asked to stay on and drive a water truck. I would load the chemicals in 2.5 gallon jugs in boxes or large 110-250 gallon totes on the truck and fill the 2 1500 gallon tanks on the truck bed with water. Crawling around and up and down the truck bed all day long. Filling a crop sprayer ( Rogator) with water and chemicals for our company applicator to apply to crops for farmers. Now mind you, this was in the big trucks that were converted semi cabs. The fertilizer boxes would be hoisted off the truck frame and then the water tanks beds were placed on the truck frame for their purpose. This is where the 15-16 hour days were.

You were paired with a male applicator as his driver and that's where you were most of the time. Mid May thru early July. Days off only happened if it rained a lot or if it was so windy that you couldn't spray. The chemical and water won't reach the plants and weeds if the wind is strong. If we were in the yard at the company you'd better find something to do or you were sent home. So I cleaned vehicles, Terragators*, Ro*gators, offices, filed papers in the office, whatever needed doing to rack up the overtime. I'd earn just as much in 3.5 months doing that as I did in my other 2 jobs the rest of the year.

And next time, ( if you're still up to reading this dribble!) I will tell you about learning to drive the water truck. Which had a trailer on behind it to pull the Ro*gator on it to pull from field to field. Scary , scary times for that 30 something woman. I'll have to try and get pictures scanned for you to see what some of the equipment was and give you an idea of what was involved.

So this is it?: And I kept going back for more!:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mariposa County: Orders 15 firetrucks from Oshkosh

CALIFORNIA FIRE NEWS: Mariposa County: Orders 15 firetrucks from Oshkosh

Pierce Manufacturing, the firetruck division of Oshkosh Corp. (OSK), received a $4.1 million order for 15 vehicles from the Mariposa County Fire Department

All of the firetrucks are expected to be in service by August. Oshkosh Capital, a financing division of Oshkosh Corp., provided the financing for the fire department, which is north of Fresno, Calif.

The order includes 11 Contender pumper trucks and four Contender DX tanker trucks. Each of the vehicles, to be built in the Fox Valley, will be outfitted with equipment geared for wilderness fires.

Mariposa County is in the sparsely populated western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It includes portions of Yosemite National Park and was the site of the Telegraph Fire that burned 34,000 acres last July.

The Mariposa Fire Department consists of 12 companies that cover 1,463 square miles.

Info2008 Pierce Contender DX series tanker: The Contender DX tanker offers the new Pierce exclusive 10" directional dump valve/chute assembly that offers more than a 1600 gpm flow — no more worrying about what direction you’re facing when pulling up to the scene.

With a low center of gravity (reducing side rolls), the DX tanker allows pump and roll, and is extremely stable — proven up to 28 degrees static side slope on a tilt table.
The DX tanker comes with compartments ahead of the rear axle(s) on both sides, has a 5-year limited warranty on the PTO and portable pumps, and a 360 hp engine.

The tank, designed specifically for Contender, is constructed of polypropylene with a water compartment baffling system that reduces the surges that can destabilize your vehicle

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Water truck fatality: Not drugs just no seatbelt

Sedative didn’t cause man’s death - Not using a seatbelt the likely reason truck driver died, fatality inquiry determines

DAMIEN WOOD - Herald-Tribune staff

In the written findings of Michael Berggren’s fatality inquiry, Judge J. R. McIntosh concluded the death was not the result of a sedative found in the truck driver’s system at the time of death in a highway accident, stating it was purely the lack of a seatbelt.

The in-court proceedings occurred late last July in a Fairview courtroom.

The result of those proceedings was released to the public Wednesday.

It was the morning of Dec. 26, 2006, when 55-year-old Berggren was called in to work for what would be his last run at Ponto Water Hauling – his place of employment for the two years.

Berggren did not work the day before and got off early the day before that.

He has been reported by those who encountered him over this stretch to have seemed in good health and good spirits.

Nothing seemed wrong at all in the minds of common-law spouse Anna Tina Miller, his employer or his co-workers.

But at approximately 10:15 a.m. Dec. 26 – just a half hour after leaving on his run to an oil rig near Worsley – Berggren was involved in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 64, approximately 10 kilometres north of Hines Creek.

He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and was ejected from the vehicle, which rolled over him and crushed his chest.

The scene responded to by authorities and emergency services was that of a water truck on its side and its driver some 20 feet away, lying in the middle of the road.

Not using a seatbelt is considered an oddity in behaviour for Berggren.

His spouse, employer and co-workers said Berggren habitually wore his seatbelt.

McIntosh stated in his concluding report that Berggren would have, in all likelihood, survived the rollover had he been wearing a seatbelt when the accident occurred.

Found to be in Berggren’s system at the time of the accident was 55 micrograms per litre of blood of a potent sedative of the benzodiazepine family – Estazolam – which was attributed to a natural health product called Serenity Pills II Berggren was talking to aid in sleeping.

The pills contained an amount of the sedative.

Estazolam was once marketed legally, but is now classified as a Schedule IV substance not legally available anywhere in North America.

Berggren had been using the product for about three months before the accident.

It is believed he took one before going to bed the night prior. Expert testimony stated it could have caused sedation and impaired his judgment while driving.

McIntosh concluded, however, there are too many variables in this incident to claim the sedative in Berggren’s system at the time of the accident was a contributing factor.

He went on to state it was not a contributing factor to the accident, or to the death.

Counsel at the fatality inquiry had requested McIntosh use his concluding report to educate the public with respect to Health Canada’s role in registration of natural health products.

Health Canada has been notified of the presence of Estazolam in Serenity Pills II, but McIntosh declined to use his findings and recommendations to any further effect.

Source: - Link

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

California National Guard - New wildland fire trucks

California National Guard - New wildland fire trucks

A total of six Pierce Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT) and HEMTT-based Water Tender (HEWATT) vehicles will be operated by the California National Guard at the direction of Governor Schwarzenegger.

APPLETON, Wis. - In an effort to generate awareness of California's wildland firefighting capabilities, the California National Guard showcased their newest Pierce Manufacturing firefighting apparatus at an event held January 30 at McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif. Built by Pierce Manufacturing, an Oshkosh Corporation Company (NYSE: OSK), the Pierce Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT) and HEMTT-based Water Tender (HEWATT) apparatus are based on Oshkosh military chassis. Three each of the TFFTs and HEWATTs have been deployed to the California National Guard's 233 Engineer Fire Fighting Company.

The event, which showcased the California National Guard and its increased firefighting ability, featured vehicle displays, information booths, and opportunities for media interaction. Representatives from the California National Guard, local and regional fire agency representatives, CALFIRE, CAL-EMA, Oshkosh, Pierce, and the United States Forest Service were present. Representatives from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff, as well as other elected officials, were on-hand to review the apparatus.

Purchased through contracts with the U.S. Army's Product Manager for Heavy Tactical Vehicles, the TFFT and HEWATT vehicles will be operated by the California National Guard at the direction of Governor Schwarzenegger.

"We're proud to help the California National Guard and the citizens of California fight the devastating wildfires that plague the state by providing extremely powerful and mobile wildland firefighting vehicles," said Wilson Jones, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Fire & Emergency. "The ability to respond to wildfires quickly and with more powerful fire apparatus is a top priority in California, and we're excited that Pierce is the choice for the Army's firefighters."

Based on the Oshkosh HEMTT military transporter chassis, the TFFT is built to handle the most challenging terrain, with an 8 x 8 chassis configuration, all-wheel drive, and the ability to climb a 60 percent grade while fully loaded. The TFFT's firefighting capabilities include room for six firefighters, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 1,000 GPM pump, a twin-agent foam system, roof and bumper turrets, 1,000 feet of hose and storage for a wide range of equipment.

The HEWATT also features an 8 x 8 all-wheel drive axle configuration. It is designed as a multi-purpose water distributor to support the TFFT, while providing supplementary fire suppression capabilities as well. Each HEWATT is equipped with a 2,500-gallon water tank, 500 gpm single-stage pump, 50 gallon foam cell and a front mounted bumper turret.

About Pierce Manufacturing
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, mini-pumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce frontal airbags and the Side-Roll Protection system to fire apparatus. To learn more about Pierce, visit

About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit

About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corporation manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh, JLG, Pierce, McNeilus, Medtec, Jerr-Dan, BAI, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline, SMIT, Geesink, Norba, Kiggen, CON-E-CO, London and IMT. The Oshkosh brands are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fire Truck Caught By Growing Sinkhole In NJ Finally Hoisted To Safety

By CraneLinda Young - AHN Editor

Jersey City, NJ (AHN) - A firetruck responding to a call about leaking water fell into a sinkhole in the street Sunday and was stuck there for hours until a crane pulled it out.

The 33-ton truck was swallowed by a sinkhole that was created after water leaking from a nearby house eroded the earth from under the roadway.

Firefighters were responding to a call about a water leak in the basement of a home when the street suddenly collapsed under their rear wheels, trapping the vehicle at 8:40 a.m. in a growing sinkhole. The crew was able to jump off the truck to safety.

Tow trucks were unable to pull the fire truck out. At about 7:30 p.m. a crane was finally able to hoist the fire truck out of the hole that had grown to about 60 feet in size.

Water trucks were brought in to supply residents with water until the water main can be prepared. About 125 homes were affected.Water Trucks and Water Tenders

Sunday, February 1, 2009

News: Milk tanker rolls off ferry


Regular readers of Biglorryblog may well remember me blogging on this this recent incident in New Zealand when a Volvo waggon and drag milk tanker slipped off the end of the ferry which goes from the mainland to Matakana Island in the Bay of Plenty. Look carefully at the above picture and you'll see the prime mover on the left of the ferry doing its impression of U517. Dive! Dive! Dive!


Well it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of blokes as it belonged to BLB's much admired favouite Kiwi fleet operator Fonterra. Well I'm grateful to BLB regular Vic Hungerford for bringing me bang up to date on the story. Vic says: "You may remember the story a few months ago about the Fonterra tanker that went for a swim off the end of a ferry. I think in your comments you wished the driver and the tanker well and hoped that they made a full recovery."


Vic continues: "Well I'm pleased to inform you that the driver was fine, but unfortunately the tanker didn't recover. It was decided that the salt water damage was terminal and that there was no point in trying resuscitation. It is gradually being stripped for parts as required for other tankers; I was down there a couple of days ago and this is what is left of what was once a fine Volvo FM12. Apparently Volvos don't like swimming!" And I don't blame them click through here for a real hoot from the back of a Mainfreight truck....


Regular BLB readers will know that the major Kiwi truck operator Mainfreight is renowed for its smart rigs and eye-catching artwork, as well as pithy phrases. on the back of its trucks too---indeed they are much admired by Biglorryblog. So what do you make of this one?


Vic says: "On the way back I was stopped behind this Mainfreight curtainsider at some traffic lights and was rather taken by the signwriting on the back. I'm not too sure about the Kiwi shaking hands with the Kangaroo though! Cheers Vic" And who's it aimed at Vic..? That's the REAL question! Great stuff as ever and thanks.for the update on the Fonterra driver. You can always put metal back's not so easy with people.