Thursday, September 2, 2010

Red 4 vs The Big Winter Fire

Photos of a fuels truck that caught fire on the Ice Runway work site. Courtesy of ice runway workers and a quick-thinking Crary worker who used a camera and the telescope. (Photo sequence starts at the bottom)

The fire was off-road and out of town, so crews responded in grip-track-equipped Red 4 and Ambo. Ambo's crew attempted to slow down the fire with their handheld extinguisher. When Red 4 arrived on scene, the handline was pulled. Unfortunately, a faulty solenoid prevented the foam valve to the handline from opening, so the crew only had drychem to work with. (Red 4 uses 4 large bottles of compressed nitrogen to produce CAFS/drychem mixed or separate at the tip. It seems like a simple, workable system, but frequent pesky leaks of highly corrosive Arctic foam throughout the system play hell with all the sensitive electronic bits and brass fittings. The truck is only a few years old and 0-for-2 on fires now). Application of drychem from 20' away lent a lovely purple hue to the smoke, as seen below. Final extinguishment was achieved by falling back on the reliable old technology of shovels and cold, dry, snow.

In other news, the week was made pleasantly eventful by the simulataneous breakdown of nearly all our ARFF equipment. Red 4 was felled by the aforementioned CAFS system failure. We will now get to test and trouble-shoot all of the Renegades. Red 6 succumbed to a mysterious nitrogen-tank leak, radio failure, and inability to start in the morning. Red 3 committed hari-kari in three different ways and left its lifeblood pooled in an oily, reddish puddle in the snow. Apparently it had a frozen air intake, frozen fuel filter, blown transmission, and maybe a couple other things I've forgotten, all at once. It now resides at Station 4 (aka the Vehicle Maintenance Facility). Red 2's generator has developed a severe fuel tank incontinence issue and the truck has been frozen a couple times. And the grand failure, discovered by none other than myself (this means I get credit): Red 1. The entire 110 electrical system in the truck's package has been fried due to it inappropriatedly being powered by a three phase power supply at the airfield. It needed 2-phase.

On the plug-in lineup, Red 5 shivers alone and contemplates the miseries of its brothers.

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