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District adds nimble engine for levee fires
LM fire truck

River Islands already has the Lathrop Manteca Fire District’s newest fire station and fire engine.

And now they can claim a new, state-of-the-art Type III fire engine that will allow the district better access to the levees and the river bottom areas that surround the master planned community.

Last week the district picked up the brand-new piece of apparatus and brought it to Station 35 where it was put into service – paid for with fire development fees to help mitigate the cost of growth and protect the residents that are flocking to the growing community.

The new purchase is Lathrop Manteca’s third Type III engine, and its use becomes critical when battling rural fires – especially those along the levees that border the San Joaquin River.

“It’s good for levee brush and we really want to get away from taking the full, Type I engines on the levees because they do a lot of damage,” Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely said. “It’s just like when you see those traffic comparisons where one truck weighs as much as x-number of cars – they’re very heavy, and the levees weren’t built for vehicles that size driving on them.

“It’s the smallest engine that we can use but it still has the capability of extinguishing the fire, and that makes them perfect for what we would need to use them for.”

The engine carries 500 gallons of water, has a pump that can put out 500 gallons of water every minute, and a separate “pump and roll” hydraulic pump for the fast-moving vegetation fires that are common in the river bottom and levee embankment areas when brush finds an ignition source. It was built by Golden State Fire Apparatus in Sacramento and is similar to the apparatus used by Cal Fire in forested areas – utilized for their maneuverability and ruggedness which allow for them to get into places that traditional full-size fire engines cannot.  With four-wheel drive, the engine shouldn’t have a problem getting around the still-wild areas around River Islands, and as a participant in the Cal Fire mutual aid program, the engine could be

The new engine is the second new piece of apparatus put into service at Station 35 – which opened earlier this year as River Islands’ first fire station and the district’s new headquarters. Constructed with growth in mind, the station will eventually be home to two separate companies – an engine and a truck – as well as all of the administrative offices.

River Islands, which will be home to more than 10,000 homes when it’s fully built-out, will eventually have another fire station, and once a certain number of homes are built in the community a clause in the development contract will trigger the purchase of a new fire truck that will allow for aerial coverage of larger buildings – retail and commercial once they are constructed – as the city-sized development takes shape.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.