New Siler City Fire Dept. engine makes debut

BY DAVID BRADLEY, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/18/19

SILER CITY ­— A new, bold candy-apple red fire engine has joined the Siler City Fire Department’s fleet.

Engine 912, custom-built in Wisconsin, replaces “Old Yellow,” an engine in use …

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New Siler City Fire Dept. engine makes debut

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SILER CITY ­— A new, bold candy-apple red fire engine has joined the Siler City Fire Department’s fleet.

Engine 912, custom-built in Wisconsin, replaces “Old Yellow,” an engine in use by Siler City firefighters since the 1970s. “Old Yellow” will be sold at auction, and the department’s 1990 model will be moved to back-up status.

Department officials say the new vehicle — financed through the tax base for the town at a cost of $700,000 — will help improve the department’s firefighting capabilities.

Assistant Chief Billy Scott, speaking at an unveiling of the new equipment on Oct. 5, praised the capabilities of the truck at the event.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Scott said. “It allows us to better serve the community. It has better capabilities with a bigger pump, and LED lights have been added for better scene safety. It can pump 2,000 gallons per minute, as opposed to 1,000 per minute with the old one.”

And, added Captain Michael Powers, the new truck “comes with all the bells and whistles, including two 1 3/4-inch jump lines on the front bumper for faster deployment on fires, that old yellow did not have.”

With the new capacity of the pumper comes greater safety for the firefighter crews. An enclosed cab accommodates six, and is equipped with front and side air bags.

Fire Chief Scott Murphy said he’s pleased to have the new equipment, for several reasons.

“It helps maintain our ISO ratings, [this is a number based on a fire department’s ability to protect the community] ” he said. “It has lower maintenance costs, and it’s more efficient, and cheaper to run.”

The Insurance Services Office, or ISO number, determines the score of a community based on several factors: emergency communication, the department itself, including equipment, training, and personnel, water supply, and lowering fire risk in the community. If a fire department is better equipped to quickly control a fire, then it’s less likely to burn down, which makes it cheaper to insure. Currently, Chief Murphy says that the city has a rating of 4, and the fire district has a rating of 5.

In addition, the truck has more equipment and materials on board for the different types of fire situations firefighters may encounter, some with chemical compositions that react badly with water. Chemicals such as sodium, potassium and lithium can ignite or explode when exposed to water, so the new truck carries fire-fighting foam to put out these types of fires.

“It carries 750 gallons of water and 30 gallons of Class A Foam,” Murphy said. “It’s got 1,500 feet of supply line for a hydrant, and 3,000 feet of attack line to fight a fire.

“The chief put a great deal of work into this,” said Past Chief Jerry Ward, who has been in the department for 55 years. “It’s made to fight fire.”

“They’ve always wanted a modern piece of equipment,” said Siler City Mayor John Grimes, himself a Siler City volunteer firefighters in the early 70s.

“In my years,” said the mayor, “I observe that they’ve never asked for anything they didn’t need. Every time these men and women go and fight a fire, and put their lives on the line, they need respect and thanks.”

David Bradley can be reached at


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