The loss of one of its engines last week in a rollover accident does not impact the Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department's ability to provide fire protection and emergency services to city and reservation residents, said Spokesman Robby Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said while the department has been using its ladder truck to respond to calls, it plans to put its backup Engine 2 into service in the coming days. The engine, which was purchased in the mid-90s, has been used for training purposes the past several years.
Now that Engine 2 is needed again, Rodriguez said it has been taken to the city's fleet service yard where it is undergoing routine maintenance and having some equipment brackets installed.
“We have used it before, when Engine 1 went down for repairs,” Rodriguez said of the nearly 20-year-old backup engine. “It's good to always have a backup. We can use any of our engines or ladder truck on any call.”
In addition to carrying 1,000 gallons of water, an engine truck is a multi-purpose vehicle that carries a wide range of equipment and tools for firefighting and rescues. Essentially anything a firefighter or paramedic would need on a call is carefully stowed in each of its compartments.
Rodriguez said firefighters spent this week checking over Engine 2, testing its water pumps and replacing all of its hoses. Fire engines carry several different sizes of hoses, which allows firefighters to decide what size to use based on the type and size of fire they are fighting.
“We went over the entire truck and it is in good shape,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the department is now waiting for the insurance company to send an adjuster to Somerton to determine if Engine 1 is totaled or if it can be repaired. Somerton/Cocopah bought the engine truck back in 2001.
“The insurance company will determine what our next step is,” Rodriguez said.
Three Somerton/Cocopah firefighters were injured in the Jan. 18 rollover accident and were transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
The accident happened just before 8:45 p.m. on the levee road at County 17th Street, about half a mile east of the international border with Mexico. According to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, the fire truck rolled over as the crew was on its way to fight a blaze near the Colorado River.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.