BREDA, IA—Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, between the cities of Banner Elk and Boone, you will find the bustling community of Foscoe. Although there are approximately 2,500 year-round residents, during the peak tourist seasons for this portion of the High Country, that quiet little community will see its population swell to greater than 6,000. For Matt Aldridge, chief of the Foscoe (NC) Volunteer Fire Department, along with his 28 firefighters, 11 of whom are also first responders, the safety of each and every one of these residents and visitors is their only focus.
Though this picturesque area may sound sleepy to many, this department records more than 300 calls annually, and has two separate firehouse locations to accommodate their needs.
“We generally have between three and five structure fires and three to four wildland fires a year, but our most common calls are emergency medical service (EMS) calls,” Aldridge says. “We are right in the middle of two college towns on Highway 105, which is a pretty busy highway and we see a lot of accidents. We are also home to many retired individuals, and this increases the number of medical-related emergency calls.”
Although the Foscoe volunteers never know exactly when a call is going to come in, they are confident in their ability to handle anything, because of their Toyne Tailored fleet of emergency vehicles.
Since 2002, the Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department has purchased seven fire trucks from the Breda, Iowa, manufacturer. And according to Aldridge, they have no intentions of going anywhere else.
“A lot of truck companies try to sell you what they want you to have,” he says. “At Toyne the trucks are built the way we want them. They are completely custom and, 99 percent of the time, they make our crazy ideas work.”
The first Toyne Tailored apparatus the department purchased was a pumper, and it quickly followed that with an order for a rapid-attack vehicle to be delivered three years later, in 2005. The department doubled up on the next purchase with two tankers in 2007 and ordered its first two-wheel-drive vehicle in 2012 to maneuver more easily in the residential areas. In 2014, it received its custom-ordered four-wheel-drive pumper and will be taking possession of its first rescue truck this coming spring.
Although each truck is built to the department’s exacting specifications, Aldridge said it has really had to work hard to get the new rescue truck ready for production. “They [Toyne] have been very patient with me,” he explains. “We have never built a truck like this. We began the process between three and four years ago and have worked to make sure all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s dotted. This is a big purchase that is going to be with us for the next 20 years. You have to do it right.”
Before this latest purchase is out the door at Toyne, the Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department is discussing its next vehicle. It will be retiring a truck from its fleet in the near future, and are going to be replacing it with a new Toyne pumper. What is truly remarkable for this department is that of the seven Toyne trucks it has purchased, it has sold only one.
“The only Toyne truck we have sold is the rapid-attack we bought in 2005. The vehicle was top-of-the-line, but it no longer matched up to the needs of the growing department,” explains Aldridge. “What it boils down to is that every time we buy a truck, we research them all, but we keep coming back to Toyne. There is quality in the way they are built that is also evident in the way they stand up to everything we put them through.”
The other factor that Aldridge says keeps them coming back to Toyne is the customer service. Once in a while, they will have a repair or warranty call, and the serviceman has always been top notch.
“The reality is we don’t see him very often. But when we do, it is always an excellent experience,” said Aldridge. “The way that Toyne supports its dealers and its customers is another reason we stick with Toyne.”
Aldridge and his team are so proud of their Toyne trucks that they have become spokesmen for their dealer, Melton Fire Group. “We get a lot of calls, and our dealer sends customers over to see our trucks,” he added.
“We can answer any questions they have and they can see for themselves how the Toyne trucks have handled the wear and tear, the salt, and the weather over the years and are nothing but quality—from the oldest to the newest in our fleet.”
Adding to our Pumpers’ prowess are three different choices of pumps from Waterous, Hale and Darley, each designed for maximum power to knock flames out and keep them down.
Learn more about Toyne Pumpers: http://www.toyne.com/fire-apparatus/pumper.aspx