By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Woods Run Forest Products in Colfax has donated a deck gun to the Colfax Community Fire Department for the reserve fire engine.
The total cost of the deck gun was around $1,800, said Joe Solberg of the Colfax fire department.
The deck gun was purchased in December and installed on the fire engine not long after that.
“It shoots water a long ways. If we are not able to reach a building with our hose line because it’s a little out of reach, or there is something in our way that we can’t get over it or underneath it, we can lob water over the top,” Solberg said.
Colfax firefighters have been training with the deck gun.
“The first night we tried it out to see what could be done with it. Then we played with it more and got everybody familiar with it, just to see what we can reach with it,” Solberg said.
“We are close to 200 feet that we can reach with it,” he added.
The deck gun was purchased new from Elkhart Brass. The fire engine, purchased from the Bayport fire department last summer, was already outfitted for the deck gun.
Bayport already had a deck gun on the fire engine, but it was a newer deck gun, and the Bayport department wanted to transfer it to their new fire engine, Solberg explained.
The deck gun has a maximum capacity of 1,250 gallons per minute, and the pump on the truck can put out 1,000 gallons per minute, he said.
The new deck gun has four interchangeable tips, from one inch to 2.5 inches of discharge.
“The smaller the tip, the farther we can reach. The stream is more concentrated,” Solberg noted.
“It is fully adjustable, up and down, and we can rotate it 360 degrees. We can go below level a little bit. We can take it off and store it if we have to in the winter,” he said.
Solberg, who is a mechanic for Eau Claire fire and rescue, arranged for the purchase of the deck gun.
The new piece of equipment also will be handy for fighting a fire at any two-story structure that is still standing when the fire department arrives, he said.
“We can shoot it up to the top, and it frees up an attack line on the ground,” Solberg said.
The Colfax Community Fire Department has not yet used the deck gun to fight a fire.
“Which is a good thing. It’s a bad day when you have to pull that piece of equipment out. But if we need it, we’re ready. We’ve trained on it quite a bit,” Solberg said.
“Quite honestly, we hope to never get a (fire) call. We keep up the training so we have it, and if we need it, we’ve got it. But we hope we never get a call. Train often, train hard, and hope you never have to use it,” he said.
The Colfax firefighters purchased the reserve engine from Bayport and donated it to the Colfax Community Fire District.
The fire engine from Bayport is a 1990 model and replaced a 1973 model that was previously used as a reserve for the Colfax fire department.
“If we had a house fire or a shed fire like we had at Woods Run, (the deck gun) is a little like having an aerial without actually having an aerial apparatus. It’s another tool that helps us out a lot,” Solberg said.