By KAREN LA PIERRE

klapierre@dailynews.net

The Bazine Fire Department has purchased a new Ford F550 fire truck grass attack unit from Blanchett Manufacturing with a compressed air foam system instead of water, making for more efficient firefighting.

The new fire truck is capable of extinguishing structure fires and car fires, and reduces the amount of water needed.

The foam system is 10 times more efficient than water.

"With 100 gallons of foam, you'll put out more (flames) than over 1,000 gallons of water," said Rick Grose, chairman of the board and volunteer at the fire deparment. "It reduces the amount of water by 10 times by having that CAS unit."

The foam is also lighter in the hose than water, said Stan Erb, fire chief. It also is supposed to take away oxygen and heat faster.

"It makes your water go further," Erb said.

Another benefit is less water damage in a structural fire.

Water and smoke damage are one of the main causes of damage to a structure fire, Erb said.

Also, when fighting a grass fire, the foam doesn't evaporate in high heat, making the moisture line last longer.

"We were looking to update our equipment," Grose said. "Things are looking a little better than they did about four or five years ago by getting some of our equipment updated."

The truck costs $145,000, which was paid for with tax money.

The volunteer fire department coverage area is the Bazine and Highpoint Township, called Ness County Fire District 2.

The new truck has a ROPS system or rollover protection system. With the firefighter strapped in the harness in the back fighting the fire, and the truck rolls over, the fire fighter would be safe.

"It's a lot safer for the firefighter," he said.

In addition, "it's a lot easier truck to run because of all of the new technology," Grose said. "It's a lot better built truck than what we have had in the past.

"It's a lot more user-friendly."

There are approximately 25 volunteers in the department, which has no paid employees. In addition to Fire District 2, they provide mutual aid to surrounding fire departments.

They received the truck a few weeks ago. Within the last 10 years, the district has purchased three new trucks.

"They are all fairly new trucks," Grose said.

"We encourage the general public to stop and look at the trucks that they have helped us buy and that protects them."