The Potomac area will see a new fire truck on the road this fall. “It will enhance a lot of our capabilities,” said Jim Seavey, chief of Cabin John Station.
The new truck, a 3,500 gallon water tanker, will allow the Cabin John station to respond to areas without fire hydrants. “It will augment areas in Potomac that don’t have hydrants, and the Beltway,” Seavey said.
The truck could be used in the rare event that there was a countywide loss of water pressure as well, Seavey said. Additionally, it will be the closest tanker truck to portions of Washington, DC.
The county had identified several areas where tanker trucks were needed. Cabin John was one of those areas, but it was not expected to get a truck for several years.
“They’ve really expedited the county plan,” said Fire Department Spokesman Pete Piringer. “It’s pretty exciting.”
The truck will likely be housed at Station 30 on Falls Road. This will place the truck closer to the western portion of Potomac, where hydrants can be scarce. “About one-fourth of Station 30’s area is without hydrants,” Seavey said.
Currently, such areas are served with pumper trucks. Those trucks, however only carry 500-1,000 gallons of water. “The tanker will make [fighting fires] more expeditious,” Piringer said.
The truck will be purchased through the federal Fire act program. “Cabin John found money to purchase the truck without county money,” Seavey said. He said that he received the news that Cabin John had won the $198,000 grant while driving. “I was on my cell phone and almost wrecked my truck,” Seavey joked.
Although the grant will purchase the rig itself, it does not provide funding for the peripheral equipment, such as hoses and hose adaptors, necessary to make it useful. “With this truck you need about $25,000 worth of supplies,” Seavey said.
Serendipitously, that was about the same time a local philanthropist was looking to donate some money to a fire station. “Along out of the blue, a gentleman named Douglas Eby contacted the fire station,” Seavey said.
Eby, a Bethesda resident operates the Douglas Foundation. “We give assistance to the firefighter and police community in the DC metro area,” Eby said.
He contacted the station and told them he wanted to give about $25,000 to Cabin John station. “I want to put money back into the area,” Eby said. “The intent is to help the community. That’s my home, I live in Bethesda.”
The foundation’s grant will be used to purchase the necessary equipment to allow the truck to work.
The truck is scheduled to be delivered this summer but will be unable to be put into use until the fall. Cabin John station personnel will need to finish training before they can properly use the pumper. “We have people already going to a lot of training drills,” Seavey said.