Thanks to community donations, firefighters at the Big Mountain Fire Department will now be able to more efficiently handle taller structure fires with a new fire truck, equipped with a 51-foot rescue ladder and an elevated stream capable of pumping 1,500 gallons-per-minute.
“The size of the buildings in our district have grown dramatically, ” Big Mountain Fire Chief Ben DeVall said. “We recognize the need for a ladder that will provide an aerial stream — we can stick it up in the air and spray water down on something instead of being on the ground and trying to arc it at a structure.”
The 2017 HME Quint HAF51 fire truck replaced a 1996 truck, which lacked a ladder.
With facilitation through the Whitefish Community Foundation, donors including Mark and Robyn Jones, Paul and Wendy Faganel, the Lion Mountain VFW Post 276 and numerous other homeowners on Big Mountain helped the fire department purchase the $526,000 fire truck. Big Mountain Firefighters Association has been raising funds for nearly 20 years to purchase equipment.
“We’ve had it for three-and-a-half weeks with regular training,” DeVall said on Sept 9. “Even I’m impressed with it. It’s a pretty spectacular piece of equipment for the district.”