Fire District 5 debuts new engine
ASHLAND — Jackson County Fire District No. 5 added a new engine to its Neil Creek station this week, and department officials say it is better suited to navigating rural terrain.
The department acquired the $299,000 Model 34 Type 3 engine Tuesday, Chief Charles Hanley said. It joins the Neil Creek station’s water tender and Type 6 brush engine, and will replace the station’s municipal pumper, which will move to another station.
“It is essentially the same engine that our neighbors to the south in Cal Fire use,” Hanley said, adding that the Model 34’s design helps it to better negotiate driveways and rural roads. “It just has a better rural application. It’s better suited for that particular area.”
The engine can also perform “mobile attack,” Hanley said, meaning the unit can move and pump simultaneously.
“It’s great. It’s fantastic. It’s modern. It runs well. It steers well,” Hanley said. “It’s really good to have it.”
The path to acquisition of the new engine goes back to February 2018, Hanley said, when the district conducted a study.
“One of the (study’s) recommendations was to purchase a Type 3 engine,” he said. “We’ve been in refurbish-replacement mode for the last three years.”
The Neil Creek station is one of three stations in the district. It covers about 15 miles of area, including parts of Interstate 5, Highway 66, Dead Indian Memorial Road, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the Mt. Ashland Ski Road.
“It covers a pretty big area,” Hanley said.
The station responded to a significant emergency Jan. 29 at 1500 Neil Creek Road, where a house burned down. Firefighters encountered challenges in that firefight, including “rural roads, long driveways, blocked access and lack of a water supply,” according to a press release. Additional units were called in from Ashland Fire & Rescue, Medford Fire-Rescue, Greensprings Fire, Siskiyou County Fire and Cal Fire.
“Firefighters were also hampered by a very large explosion and a supply of hazardous chemicals stored on site,” the release said.
The cause of the fire is undetermined.
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