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GCFD7 receives $20,000 toward new truck

by REBECCA PETTINGILL
Staff Writer | September 26, 2022 3:35 PM

SOAP LAKE - Grant County Fire District 7 received $20,000 toward a new fire truck Friday afternoon courtesy of Teck American Inc.

“I can't express my gratitude enough for (Teck American’s) commitment to our community and helping us to make sure we have the resources we need,” said GCFD7 Administrator Josh Chambers.

The $20,000 will go towards GCFD7 replacing a Type 3 apparatus - also known as a wildland fire truck. The department lost one of its trucks in June while fighting a fire when the truck rolled with two personnel inside. Chamber said the loss of the truck was significant for the department given fire trends in the region.

Chambers explained that over the last few years, the district has seen an increase in fires and that they need apparatuses like the Type 3 truck because they can hold more water and can be outfitted to be operated by one person, which is crucial when staffing is as low as it is at GCFD7.

Replacement of a type 3 apparatus ranges from $80,000 to more than $200,000, depending on if the truck is new, used or built from acquired parts.

Currently, GCFD7 is already working on replacing the truck. They purchased a used chassis through a government surplus sale but still need to outfit it to the specifications necessary prior to putting it into service. Between the $20,000 and the money from the insurance on the rolled vehicle, Chambers said they believe it will cover the total cost for the replacement.

Tek American Environmental Department Vice President Kris McCaig said the Canadian mining company is working to identify the impacts of a smelter in operation that discharged waste into the Columbia River when that practice was legal. In order to give back to communities impacted by that pollution and to support local first responders, the company works with fire departments to help out. When the company heard about the GCFD7 apparatus being destroyed earlier this year, the firm decided to donate to help replace the lost equipment.

“We have done a lot of work over the years, we spent almost $150 million dollars on this study but it means going into these communities and working with firefighters in some cases, working with local business owners, working with folks that we need supplies from, places to stay, all of that,” said McCaig. “And they have been so good to us and so this is just a way for us, as we have done over the years as we’ve worked on this study, to give back to the communities.”

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at rpettingill@columbiabasinherald.com. To read more stories focused on local news in the Columbia Basin, download the Columbia Basin Herald app - available for iOS and Android devices.

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