A 6,000-gallon fire suppression tank recently installed on property off the Old North Thompson Highway Road across from the former Star Lake School in Blackpool. (Keith McNeill photo)

A 6,000-gallon fire suppression tank recently installed on property off the Old North Thompson Highway Road across from the former Star Lake School in Blackpool. (Keith McNeill photo)

New tanks for Blackpool, Little Fort, enhance rural fire suppression

There are five tanks in total throughout the communities

The Blackpool and Little Fort fire departments have installed tanks to help with fire suppression efforts in their respective areas.

These tanks, five in total, have been placed strategically throughout the communities to help firefighters lessen the amount of time it takes to refill tender trucks while on a call. Two of the tanks are placed at each fire hall and are 10,000 gallons in size. The other three, one on Caroline Road, another on the Old North Thompson Highway Road and the third on Lemieux Creek Road, are all 6,000 gallons in size.

Neither community has fire hydrants and would rely on water tender shuttles for fire suppression support. Now that the water tanks are set up, time to reload the water tender trucks is cut significantly.

“Once you unload a tender, you have to send it back to reload and that can be anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes for round trip — you can be out of water by then,” said Mike Savage, Chief of Blackpool Fire Rescue. “With these ones, strategically placed in your fire protection area or in high-density areas and long tender runs, you can be returning to the fire scene in probably ten minutes.”

Connected to each tank is a coupling for a suction line that then hooks up to fill a tender truck. In the coming weeks, said Savage, they’d like to install pumps on cement pads hooked up to each tank. This will allow them to standardize the suction lines and fittings for all users.

Tender trucks hold about 2,200 gallons of water. This means a full 6,000-gallon tank could fill a tender truck full almost three times before running out. This saves fire crews a lot of precious time while fighting a fire and allows them to attack the fire with a consistent flow of water.

“That’s the goal: Hit it hard, hit it fast,” said Savage.

Volunteer fire crews from both the Little Fort and Blackpool fire halls have received how-to training at each of the tanks. Members of the Clearwater volunteer fire department also have had training on the tanks as well as at the hall.

The three smaller tanks have also been put on private land, something Savage said crews are very thankful for.

“For us the biggest one is being able to thank our landowners that have given us permission,” he said.