Gillett's new/old fire engine arrives

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Truck passes testing, does well on calls
By: 

Warren Bluhm, wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com


Alderperson Irene Drake listens as Gillett Fire Chief Kurt Hicks talks about the Seagrave pumper truck that the city recently purchased and put into service. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Gillett Fire Chief Kurt Hicks showed off his department’s new pumper truck to the City Council and others in attendance Thursday night (Dec. 6).

“It handles super, pumps great,” Hicks said. “It’s just simply a lot of truck.”

The council last month approved the purchase of the huge 1992 Seagrave truck at a net price of $23,500 after a $4,000 trade-in for the department’s former utility truck, a 1987 Ford vehicle.

Wanting to make sure the purchase made sense to the roughly two dozen firefighters who will be using it, Hicks said he brought a number of them to check it out and put it through its paces before bringing it before the council.

“For the price and what was here, it really was serving our needs very well,” he said.

The truck has been out on two calls so far and is working great, the chief said.

Hicks briefed the council members on the department’s evolution since he became chief about a year ago. Two recent recruits have brought the roster to 23.

“We’re getting very close — that was our goal this year, to get to 25, and I do believe we’ll make that,” Hicks said. “It’s been fun to go to the meetings now because we have a lot of people there, and young people.”

Firefighters must go through state-mandated training provided by NWTC within a year after signing up, and they need to be available for training and calls, he said.

“You gotta commit; you can’t do it halfway,” Hicks said.

The current crew has done a lot of joint training recently with the Town of Underhill Fire Department, including a turnout of 27 firefighters last week for Rapid Intervention Team training.

“When a firefighter goes down, they’re specialized in going in there and getting that particular individual out,” Hicks said. “We have a RIT pack that we bought with our new SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) units, and we used that for the first time.”