Winfield firefighters get air unit SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

November 06, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

The Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department has added an air unit to its stable of firefighting equipment.

The truck, which has a compressor to fill air tanks that firefighters carry on their backs, went into service about a month ago. The company has three engines, a medic unit and a brush-fire truck.

"It originally belonged to the Reese Volunteer Fire Department," said Tim Warner, chief of the Winfield department. "They decided to get rid of it because they were looking at another specialized piece of equipment and didn't want to run both."

The air compressor, which can be operated by one person, fills breathing tanks that firefighters use while battling flames or entering buildings filled with hazardous gas.

The Reese company won't need it because it is getting a vehicle to carry rescue equipment and a cascade system, or collection of air bottles, said Reese's chief, Donald W. Love.

Rescue equipment is now being carried on the fire trucks, he said.

"We're writing the specifications and putting out the bids to manufacturers," he said. "This piece will carry all our rescue equipment, so then we can enhance our stock and our capabilities of doing those types of assignments."

Winfield wasn't shopping around for an air unit when it came up for sale recently.

"When Reese decided to get rid of it, we started to look at it seriously because we were afraid it would go out of the county," Mr. Warner said.

Winfield paid $30,000 for the unit.

The Lineboro department owns the only other air unit in the county. Lineboro responds to calls north of Route 140, and Winfield to fires south of that line, Mr. Warner said.

"The way the county has it set up, central alarm [the Emergency Operations Center] dispatches it on any second-alarm structure fire," he said. "But it can be requested for any kind of fire and any company that wants it.

"There's not very many companies around here that have their own compressor."

Mr. Love agreed, adding that when Reese owned the unit, the members often answered calls in western Baltimore County.

"They had [an air unit] at Towson and one at Lansdowne," he said. "But when you get to Reisterstown and Owings Mills, we were closer. We would run there under a mutual aid agreement."

In fact, the air unit traveled long distances for some unusual fires, Mr. Love said. The unit supplied air for firefighters at a Gettysburg (Pa.) Hotel fire; a church fire in Shippensburg, Pa.; several silo fires, and a hazardous materials call in Baltimore County, he said.

"They are always the neat ones to go on, the ones that are a really long distance and the unique type of call," he said. "It was the kind of stuff where people had to wear breathing apparatus and someone had to be there to fill them."

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