Airport welcomes new firefighting truck

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The Grand Junction Regional Airport is retiring one of its most important safety features after 25 years. Now, a new firetruck will ready at the airport in the event of an emergency.

The OshKosh Striker 1500 adds to the lineage of Grand Junction Regional Airport firetrucks that will provide top-of-the-line safety.

"We couldn't provide the safe operating facility without a good, up-to-date aircraft rescue firefighting capabilities,” Grand Junction Regional Airport spokesperson Amy Jordan said.

New tools will replace old ones, leaving the original T-1500 truck behind. The new striker is expected to open up a wide array of upgrades for the station, including fighting fires from a safer distance with the use of the new piercing turret.

“We are able to do interior attacks of aircraft fires; we can also penetrate actually if we needed to go into a building, such as one of the hangers," fire chief Ted Balbier said.

The regional airport fire station isn't like others, as it only mans two or even one worker at a given time. That means if an emergency breaks out, the fire department will need all the help it can get, and the striker provides that in many ways.

“This truck’s ability to operate with a single operator is key, and having the extendable roof turret just makes us more versatile in what we can do in an emergency without needing a second person," fleet maintenance manager Fidel Lucero said.

The truck cost more than $700,000, and it provides a 1,500 gallon water tank, off-road performance capabilities and an overall better firefighting system.

"The FAA funds about 90 percent of these vehicles, so the airport had to pay 10 percent, so the truck that we are replacing is the one we had for 25 years," Balbier said.

This truck will help with FAA regulations by shortening response time. It can get up to 75 mph, putting it at an emergency scene in just three minutes.

Fire officials are trying to sell the old T-1500 truck, leaving the new primary striker in charge of the fleet.

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