RIO COMMUNITIES — With new equipment, the Rio Grande Estates Fire Department — soon to be renamed the City of Rio Communities Fire Department — is looking to provide better fire protection for its citizens.
Interim Volunteer Fire Chief Andrew Tabet stood proudly by the department’s newest apparatus, a brand new, 2022 Ferrara pumper truck.
“It’s one of the newest units to our fleet,” Tabet said. “It holds 1,000 gallons, and it’s for structure and car fires.”
Tabet said the engine puts out a high volume of water through its hoses. The volunteer chief said the truck can also hook up to a fire hydrant for more water if necessary.
“Our newest pumper (we acquired) was in 2008, and it did very well for us,” he said. “But the more apparatus we have, the better it is for the city and the citizens. It also will help with keeping (homeowner) insurance low, and overall protection for the residents.”
Tabet said the size of the new pumper allows for better turning, and is larger to carry six personnel. It also has a bigger pump and has a side-mount pump to reduce injuries for firefighters not having to maneuver around the truck.
The new pumper was delivered to the fire station about a month ago, but has not yet been put to use, the chief said.
“We received legislative money; we’ve been working on this for several years,” Tabet said. “The total cost, with the truck being totally outfitted by the manufacturer, was $506,000. We give (our legislators) credit and we thank them.”
The department was able to outfit the truck — with hoses, nozzles, axes, tools, decals, and an AED — for $32,000 from state fire funds.
This pumper truck is the newest apparatus in the department’s fleet. Tabet said they were able to purchase two new rescue units in 2015, and two brush trucks in 2020. The RGEFD also purchased a tanker, which holds 2,000 gallons of water, a few months ago.
The oldest truck in the fleet is a 1997 engine, which is still in service.
“We’ve been focusing on getting newer equipment,” said Tabet, who has been interim chief for nearly two years. “I’m very pleased we have the new pumper for the city and the residents. They will continue to have good fire protection.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.