Lake Township (OH) Gets Specialized Fire Apparatus

With an executive airport, two major railroad yards, and a busy turnpike to cover, the Lake Township faces many threats for large oil fires.

With that in mind, Fire Chief Bruce Moritz requested a pair of free surplus fire trucks from a government surplus program.

The specialized trucks designed for fighting oil fires came from came from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing stationed at the Toledo Express Airport.

They were free, though the township had to pay to repair leaks, Chief Moritz said.

“I made a hard pitch for these,” said the grateful chief. “I pursued them hot and heavy for it.”

A plane crash July 25 near Lake High School demonstrated why firefighters need the specialized trucks, the chief said. Each can hold 1,000 gallons of water, and, more importantly, 130 gallons of foam.

Mr. Moritz said if the department owned the specialized trucks at the time of the plane crash, they could have responded first and covered the area with foam.

“The foam is a penetrative wet agent that covers jet fuel and gas,” said John Barnes, assistant chief of Air National Guard at the Toledo Express Airport. “The foam cuts off oxygen, starts cooling it off, and interrupts the chemical change reactions.”

Having trucks with foam ready to fight large explosive fires was a goal for Mr. Moritz. When he took over as fire chief in Lake Township two years ago he understood the opportunities for explosive fires with the airport, railroad yards, and the turnpike. He hopes to fulfill his goal of having two operational airport crash trucks within a month.

The trucks were delivered three weeks ago and he has 180 days to get them in service. One truck is a 1985 model and had seen service in Alaska, while the other is a 1986 model that served at the nearby Toledo Executive Airport and was rebuilt in 2008. Mr. Moritz said the sale listing for the trucks is $172,000. New trucks equipped with the specialty gear could cost about $1 million, he said..

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