Reese fire company adds big rescue truck

April 25, 1994|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

The Reese and Community Volunteer Fire Company's new $170,000, heavy-duty rescue truck is in the firehouse on Route 140 ready to go.

Rescue 9, a 1993 International Navistar four-door cab vehicle, is equipped to handle emergencies that range from water rescues to freeing people trapped in cars or collapsed buildings.

The truck, outfitted and painted to match the other Reese vehicles, is the first nonwalk-in apparatus -- all its equipment is available from compartment doors outside the truck -- specifically designed as a rescue vehicle in Carroll County, according to Chief Marion "Junior" Davidson.

Rescue 9 also is capable of firefighting duties and performing as a medic unit. It has backboards and a Stokes basket, used for rescuing people, along with an abundance of first aid supplies. The unit carries more medical equipment than either of the company's fire engines.

Equipment in its custom-built compartments includes fire hoses, a 200-gallon water tank, electric and gas-powered lifesaving systems and Jaws of Life tools.

The lifesaving systems can be operated simultaneously if more than one rescue is required, Chief Davidson said.

Additional items, installed on slide-out shelves, are a 12-kilowatt generator, air bags for lifting heavy weights, air impact wrenches and chisels and three large air tanks capable of refilling about 20 of the smaller air bottles that firefighters carry into smoke-filled buildings or use around hazardous fumes.

Chief Davidson said the fire company's members decided about two years ago to buy the large rescue truck because of the number of serious vehicle accidents in their section of the county, particularly along Route 140. The Reese volunteers respond to about 100 crashes each year.

At the time, the Reese company had a smaller air unit, which was used to refill depleted air bottles, and had placed some rescue equipment on it. But the unit fell short of what was needed.

The new unit arrived about two months ago. It was taken to Hagerstown to be fitted with sliding shelves and hangers for such equipment as saws, hand tools and covers to throw over furniture to prevent fire from reaching it in burning buildings.

The rescue vehicle also is equipped with "on-the-spot" snow chains, which are not put on tires but are part of the vehicle and lowered to the ground where they rotate under the tires.

All the company's equipment has the same type of emergency chains, the chief said.

Another feature of the rescue truck is a pair of air bottles built into the backrest of the rear jump seats, which enables firefighters to put them on en route to fires.

The Reese company operates with two engines, a brush truck, a utility truck and a medic unit. When the unit started in 1948, it had a one-truck station in a garage on Reese Road. During that first year, the company responded to nine calls. Last year, Reese volunteers answered 458 fire calls and 754 medical calls.

Chief Davidson, who was the station's top responder last year with 315 fire calls, also is a full-time paid fire lieutenant in Woodlawn. He has been a Baltimore County firefighter since 1982 and chief at Reese for all but one year since 1986.

The company has about 100 members, including 54 active male and female volunteers who ride the engines or the medic unit. The unit also sponsors annual carnivals and weekly bingo games to raise money for equipment and to maintain the firehouse. The building opened in 1954 and was expanded in 1982.

The company's first home, the garage, was owned by Jake Caple's family. Mr. Caple, Charles Bush and Holloday Blizzard, all charter members, have been active members of the Reese company for more than 45 years.

"We started with a dream," Mr. Bush said recently. "We had only $300, a lot of hope, about 50 active members of the community and ordered a fire truck."

Mr. Bush has been an officer of the fire company every year but one. He has served on the board of directors, as fire chief, as president for about 11 years and treasurer, his current position, for more than 15 years.

Mr. Blizzard was the company's first paid member. He drove the engine and maintained the firehouse.

The company now has three paid members. Two ride the medic unit and the third drives the fire engine.

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