SEMINOLE, Fla. -- With the intense heat and little rain in the forecast, Tampa Bay residents may see a heightened potential for brush fires this summer.
Seminole Fire Rescue is ready for brush fires of any size, thanks to a new truck specifically outfitted to fight brush fires. The truck is a former Army cargo truck and is built to get into tight spots to fight brush fires.
The truck replaces the department's former brush truck which was 53 years old.
Instead of having the military vehicle converted by a private company, the city of Seminole relied on their own fleet maintenance staff to make the alterations, including adding a 700-gallon water tank, hoses and a big bumper capable of mowing down large branches.
“It will go just about anywhere,” Brad Rownd, the Seminole Fire fleet maintenance manager explained. “We thought the military spends millions of dollars developing vehicles to do what we do. So why duplicate? Why reinvent the wheel?”
Rownd and his team wanted to find a way to get into tight spaces without compromising how much water and equipment the vehicle could carry.
“Which allows us to be in fighting fire a lot longer," Assistant Seminole Fire Chief Jim Meegan added.
Seminole Fire Rescue plans to assist other fire departments in Pinellas County if brush fires pop up in other areas including Brooker Creek, which is the area with the most brush fire potential in the county.
The brush truck can also be converted into a high water rescue vehicle to assist in the aftermath of flooding.
All firefighters have completed training on the new brush truck and Assistant Fire Chief Meegan says it's ready to roll for the busy summer brush fire season.