By Mike Ciampo
Wyantskill, New York, is a hamlet of the Town of North Greenbush and a suburb of the City of Troy NY. It is located across the Hudson River from Albany, the Capitol of New York State, in Rensselaer County. In 2010, the Wyantskill Fire Department and the Defreestville Fire Department consolidated to form the North Greenbush Fire District #1. The Wyantskill Fire Department was established in 1915 and will be celebrating its Centennial this year. While looking at their apparatus, one can sense the amount of pride they have, especially when looking at their antique “Gray Ghost” Sanford fire engine, painted in their original paint scheme of light gray over red. The Ghost is often viewed in parades and events, receiving accolades from the crowds.
Engine 426 is Wyantskill’s first-line engine. It’s a 2007 American LaFrance with a rear-mount pump that has a 940-gallon water tank and two 30-gallon foam tanks. It has high side compartments with roll-up doors, resembling a rescue body type design, with its pump controls located in the left rear compartment. The cab is a walk-through design that seats six and allows good communication between the officer and the members in the crew cab. The engine’s paint scheme is white over lime green with a royal blue reflective stripe running along the bottom of the cab and up along the roll-up compartment doors. The front right side compartment is used for hand tool storage and other equipment. It’s known to department members as the utility compartment.
On the rear wall of the compartment, there are numerous hand tools mounted and held in place by retaining brackets. The department color codes its hand tools so members can identify which unit they belong to. Engine 426’s color is red as can be seen by the tool markings. Working from the top of the compartment downward are: a 4-foot sheetrock rake, Pro-Bar Halligan tool, 3-foot D-handle pike pole (aka closet hook), and married together as a set of Irons are another Pro-Bar Halligan and 8-pound flat-head axe in a carrying strap. Also mounted to the rear wall, on the left side of the tool board, is a 2.5-gallon water extinguisher with Cold Fire (fire suppressant agent that’s nontoxic and biodegradable).
Beneath the rear-wall tool board, permanently mounted on the left side of the compartment, is a 120-volt, 250-foot electrical cord reel with a junction box mounted to its end. The junction box sits in a prefabricated box on the left-side wall of the compartment. The cord reel is rewound by an electrical motor rewind system. There is also a roll-out compartment tray shelf that has the following items placed on it: one dry chemical extinguisher, one CO2 Extinguisher, a Super Vac exhaust fan, one hose roller, two canvas garden hoses for the rehab fan attachment, and two metal canisters for chimney fires. The two metal chimney cans are to be used by the inside team and one for the outside team. If you take note in the photos, the one can is smaller and fits under the electric cord reel. The inside team’s canister has two small metal “fireplace” shovels for removing the ashes, a portable mirror to look up into the flue of the chimney (formerly from the side of an older apparatus), a tarp to protect the flooring, and two pairs of fire-rated gloves. In the outside team’s canister is a coffee can filled with dry chemical in small zip-lock bags which can be emptied directly into the chimney or dropped down from above, and a 75-foot chain with a homemade “bullet” (steel cylindrical shaped) attachment to remove any creosote buildup in the chimney. Mounted to the forward wall of this compartment and held in by a tubular retaining strap is a Mister Rehab Fan Attachment that connects to the front of the fan. Once the garden hose is attached to it and the fan turned on, it blows a water mist to cool firefighters down at scenes. Also standing next to this attachment is a door jamb extender, which can be used to hang the exhaust fan.
The Wyantskill Fire Department is a proud organization and has become stronger with the consolidation as a whole. Not only is it better equipped to handle an emergency, it also has stronger numbers in members responding. Congratulations to the Wyantskill Fire Department for serving the citizens and community for 100 years.
MIKE CIAMPO is a 29-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He has a B.A. in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladder chapter and co-authored the Ventilation chapter for Fire Engineering‘s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on www.FireEngineering.com. He also wrote the Ground Ladders-Bread & Butter DVD (Pennwell) and writes the monthly column ON FIRE on the back page of Fire Engineering.
By Mike Ciampo