Oak Creek Fire’s new rig had water on Stagecoach blaze before it was even in park | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Fire’s new rig had water on Stagecoach blaze before it was even in park

This nozzle mounted on the front of the Oak Creek Fire Protection District's new tactical tender, called a monitor stream, was able to have water on this garage fire in Stagecoach before the rig stopped rolling.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Fire had engulfed a garage near Stagecoach Wednesday evening, March 23, when the call over Routt County dispatch went to Oak Creek Fire Protection District.

As firefighters responded, calls for assistance quickly went to Yampa and Steamboat as well, but those were soon canceled. Brandon Alt, a part-time lieutenant with Oak Creek Fire Rescue, estimated it took firefighters about five minutes to extinguish the blaze.

“He turned it on as he pulled in and started shooting water before it was even in park,” said Alt, referring to a water nozzle mounted to the front of the districts’ newest rig, an addition made possible when voters approved increased funding for the district in 2020.

Three people inside the home were able to get out safely, with just one person receiving some burns. The homeowner said the fire started about two hours after he plugged in a new battery charger.

Oak Creek Fire Lt. Brandon Alt, right, and Chief Brady Glauthier, left, help a firefighter with a tank as crews mop up after a garage fire near Stagecoach on Wednesday, March 23. Behind them is the district’s new tactical tender, which can hold 2,500 gallons of water.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The garage was off Falling Falcon Trail, a windy dirt road with homes lining either side in the shadow of the old Stagecoach Ski Area. Several feet of snow line the narrow roadway, similar to most of the roads around Stagecoach.

The rig, referred to as a Type-1 tactical tender, has three sets of wheels with six-wheel drive, can hold 2,500 gallons of water and has a monitor stream mounted on the front bumper. The nozzle shoots water at about 1,000 gallons a minute.

“A thousand gallons a minute going through that hole changed everything,” said Oak Creek Fire Chief Brady Glauthier, referring to the vent near the garage’s gable. “One of the reasons we got it was for fighting fires like this out here — a lot of water real fast.”

Oak Creek firefighters work to cool down a garage fire near Stagecoach on Wednesday, March 23. It took firefighters about five minutes to get the blaze put out.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Other engines have similar nozzles, Glauthier said. What they lack is the water capacity to put a sustained stream on a fire. With other engines that hold 500 or 700 gallons, water will stop flowing in as little as 30 seconds.

“As an initial attack to do an immediate knock down of the fire, having 2,500 gallons behind it with a gun is huge,” Glauthier said. “We haven’t had it that long and we’ve already had two fires with it and it’s been indispensable. We’re super excited.”

Glauthier, who took over as the district’s fire chief last fall, said the quick response, calling off backup from other fire districts and putting out the fire so quickly all stems back to when Oak Creek voters approved an additional property tax for the district in May 2020. The measure passed by 27 votes.

Approval gave the district a 4-mill increase in local property taxes, which is about $200,000 annually. The last time the district had asked for and got a property tax increase approved was 2002.

“Because the district increased the mill levy two years ago, as a direct result we were able to be here on time,” Glauthier said. “If this would have been two years ago, the house would have caught fire as well.”

Glauthier said the district has a new first in engine as well, with a shorter wheel base and four-wheel drive to traverse the rural roads throughout the district. The new tactical tender has six-wheel drive, so that no matter the conditions, Glauthier said they could get in.

Being able to call off the other districts was key as well. While they appreciate help from neighbors, Glauthier said it is better when they can handle a call themselves.

“Anytime we get called away from our districts, that just means if something happens a district is less ready for it,” Glauthier said. “By us being able to maintain and take control and mitigate the problem right away without using those resources, that’s a win for the whole county.”

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