St. Thomas Port Authority Welcomes New Fire Apparatus

A new state-of-the-art fire truck has arrived at King Airport.

The truck, a Global Striker 4×4 aircraft rescue and fire-fighting apparatus, has a computerized operating system and a penetrating “snozzle” that can pierce the walls of a plane to deliver water and foam suppressant into the interior of an aircraft, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Port Authority.

The truck’s 1,500-gallon water and 200-gallon aqueous film-forming foam suppression system is critical for fighting fuel fires, the statement said.

The $923,421 truck from Oshkosh Corporation was paid for in part with an Airport Improvement Grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Port Authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero Brathwaite. The grant required that 10 percent of the truck’s cost be paid for by the V.I. Port Authority.

The new apparatus will replace Oshkosh Engine 5, which is about 15 years old and in poor condition, according to the Port Authority.

“The equipment we have now has improved leaps and bounds from what it is replacing,” said Port Authority Fire Chief Derek Smith.

Smith said the new apparatus has a GPS-like system to track the truck as well as a computerized command system that will allow him or anyone else in command to send the truck operators digital messages, such as advisories to avoid unsafe areas or notices of obstacles in the truck’s path.

“It’s been made more computerized, more efficient, more easy to operate,” Smith said. “It’s a little intense, but the potential to damage the truck is so much less.”

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