Is Squad 1 a fire engine? Is it a rescue vehicle? Yes!
The Holly Springs Fire Department recently welcomed a brand new Spartan rescue-engine named Squad 1 to its fleet. The new vehicle is the department's first custom-built fire truck. Squad 1 will handle the job of two trucks: it will serve as an engine truck, pumping water to extinguish fires, and as a rescue truck, loaded with specialized rescue equipment to handle vehicle accidents and more complicated rescue emergencies.
"It's unique," said LeRoy Smith, Holly Springs fire chief. "It was designed by a committee of Holly Springs firefighters to meet the current and future needs of our community."
Air bags and an alert for unfastened seat belts are on Squad 1. These safety features are becoming more commonplace in fire vehicles. Squad 1 will enable Holly Springs firefighters to connect and use multiple rescue tools at the same time. Rescue tools include cutters and spreaders that work like "jaws of life" to extract people trapped inside vehicles. The truck also will carry four rams to move heavy objects – useful to push crushed dashboards off people.
"It can run four extrication tools at once,” Smith said. “So, if someone is trapped in a car accident, you have four tools at your disposal where previously we could run just one."
To contain spills of hazardous materials including gasoline or extinguish flammable liquid fires, Squad 1 will carry 30 gallons of foam – enough to contain the spilled contents of a tanker until help arrives. Previously, firefighters transported foam in buckets from the truck.
Squad 1 is replacing an engine truck at the fire headquarters off Flint Point Lane. The engine truck will be reassigned to Station 3. The engine at Station 3 will reassigned as Engine 33 and will become a reserve truck to be used if another vehicle is taken out of service for maintenance.
Squad 1 cost $475,160. It was funded with $285,000 from Town funds and $80,000 from a cost-share agreement with the county. The remainder came from the sale of two trucks, the former reserve engine and a modified ice cream truck from the 1970s that served as a rescue vehicle.
Squad 1 joins a recently purchased a ladder truck, which will be located at Station 2. The Town's previous ladder truck was built in 1999 and had more than 90,000 miles on it. Because the company that built the truck went out of business, finding repair parts was becoming difficult. The Town sold it to Biscoe, NC, for $195,000 and applied that money toward a ladder truck from Pennsylvania. The new ladder truck has about 10,000 miles on it and hadn’t seen much use at its previous location. Although the asking price was $435,000, the Town negotiated and purchased the ladder truck for $370,000. A new truck of the same caliber would have cost $1.2 million.
Town Manager Charles Simmons praised Smith for being proactive in securing funding for the trucks, including selling the trucks that no longer fit the Town.
“Because of the approach our fire chief and his leadership staff have taken,” Simmons said, “we were able to make purchases on some trucks we might not have been able to purchase otherwise.”
Smith said he expects the ladder truck to last at least a decade and to enter service for the Town in October at about the same time as Squad 1, after firefighters receive training on operating the new equipment.