The old Granite Shoals fire tender will be used until its recently approved replacement arrives in January 2024. This is an essential support vehicle that significantly improves the department’s ability to battle blazes. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
Granite Shoals Fire Rescue’s latest checkmark on a list of upgrades is a new fire tender, a support vehicle that supplies water to a fire engine battling a blaze. The City Council approved a $52,000 budget transfer on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to close the deal for the vehicle.
It is expected to be delivered within a year, which should line up with the arrival of the department’s new fire engine that was ordered in May 2022.
Between the new tender, engine, and other equipment, the fire department has invested about $1.3 million into upgrades over the past year.
“That tender is very important,” Chief Tim Campbell told DailyTrib.com. “Especially for the areas in our Emergency Services District where we don’t have as many hydrants or lake access.”
A tender can quickly pump water and supply it to a fire engine, which then uses its higher-power pump to actually fight a fire. The department’s new tender will have a 3,000-gallon pumping capacity — 1,200 gallons more than the old one. That should save critical time on trips for water when firefighters don’t have immediate access to fire hydrants or the lake.
“It’s game-changing for us,” Campbell said.
The council unanimously approved the $52,000 budget transfer, derived from salary savings in the previous fiscal year when the fire department was understaffed.
The tender’s price tag is $349,000, which will come from a $240,000 grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service, roughly $60,000 from the sale of the old tender, and the approved budget transfer from the council. Campbell expected to get closer to $110,000 for the old tender, but appraisals came back at the lower estimate.
The fire chief has been on a mission to modernize and improve the fire department since he took over in December 2021. He’s already received approval for a fire command truck, fire engine, tender, squad truck, and protective gear for firefighters — all new. The department is also now fully staffed. Firefighter salaries increased 32 percent from the last fiscal year, raising the total salary budget from $504,001 in the 2021-22 budget to $665,415 in the 2022-23 budget.
“The city has been good to us, along with the (Emergency Services District),” Campbell said. “We’re getting our needs met.”