2-in-1 trucks to help Portland fight fires

Clackamas Fire Engineer Michael Bennett stands in front of a quint, a 2-in-1 truck, July 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Clackamas Fire Engineer Michael Bennett stands in front of a quint, a 2-in-1 truck, July 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

CLACKAMAS, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland firefighter’s union argues it is firefighters who put out the fires, not the appartuses they use.

Earlier this week, a fire broke out at Trillium Lumber Yard in North Portland. Before city budget cuts, an engine from Station 8 — with water and hose and a crew of four — would have responded with a ladder truck.

But the truck crew had to wait two minutes for an engine company with water and hose to arrive from Janzen Beach.

As part of the changes, city officials said the two stations impacted by the cuts will soon receive a quint.

Clackamas County Fire District 1 has two quints, including one in Milwaukie. The quint is a 2-in-1 apparatus with both ladder and water operations and a crew of four.

“It’s one job or the other,” said Clackamas County Fire Engineer Jeff Bennett. “We’re either performing ladder operations or we’re going to perform pumper operations.”

The quint carries less water and hose line than an engine — about 300 gallons — but it’s enough “to put out perhaps a car fire, maybe a dumpster fire,” he said.

This crew operates mainly as a ladder company.

“Our primary obligation is making sure we search a structure and look for victims and provide vertical ventilation,” he said, “so we can clear the smoke and gas out so fire companies can come in and put out the fire.”

That takes more firefighters arriving with more hose and water on an engine from a nearby station. It’s typically there very quickly.

Members of the Portland Firefighters Association said even with a quint, public safety is a concern for an urban department like Portland’s.

“In the Kenton and Parkrose, there’s a reduced response-ability now and that also affects the surrounding neighborhoods because those fire engines from those neighborhoods now have to come in to help out,” said Michael Wight of the Portland Firefighters Association.

The two new quints for Portland were set to arrive Friday and should be in service by the end of August once they’re equipped and the crews are trained.

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