Houston firefighters try out the department's new water hauler on April 12.

Houston firefighters try out the department's new water hauler on April 12.

New water-hauler rolls into Houston fire department

Houston firefighters made a splash with a shiny new water-hauler last week.

Houston firefighters made a splash with a shiny new water-hauler last week.

Fire Chief Jim Daigneault says the new truck will mainly shuttle water to out-of-town areas that have no fire hydrants.

Equipped with a 1,500-gallon tank that takes just five minutes to fill, he said the new truck can haul more water than the 40-year-old truck it’s replacing.

“It gives us a lot of flexibility,” Daigneault said. “It’s actually got a good pump on it, so it can just fight a fire as well.”

Crews tried out that pump for the first time on Thursday while driving the truck slowly down 11th Street. That “pump and roll” technique is a big help in fighting fast-spreading grass and brush fires, said Daigneault.

Shawn Dick, handles B.C. and Yukon sales for Rocky Mountain Phoenix, the company that won last year’s bid to supply the District of Houston with the $194,000 Rosenbauer fire truck.

Inside the water-hauler is a collapsible tank that looks like a giant wading pool, he explained.

When they pull up to a fire, the hauling crew dumps that pool on the ground and fills it using a 10-inch chute that pours 1,000 gallons a minute.

Then they drive back to a hydrant for a refill, leaving a pool of water that fire engines can suck up using suction hoses.

“They just keep filling the pool, and the other trucks do the main firefighting,” said Dick.

Asked what it’s like to be a firetruck dealer, he admitted it’s a lot of fun.

“Every single truck I sell, I get to have at my house and drive,” he said, smiling.

That’s a huge bonus for his six-year-old son, he added, who got to bring his Dad’s fire truck¬† to his Grade 1 show-and-tell this year.

“He was pretty much the coolest kid in school,” he said, laughing.