New fire truck to serve airport

Jill Schramm/MDN LeAnn Murdock with Rosenbauer, the company supplying the Minot Airport fire station’s latest truck, instructs a group of firefighters on its operation during a training May 9 at the airport station.

The big yellow fire truck soon to join the City of Minot’s fleet won’t be racing down any city streets to chase after flames. The newest truck is housed at the airport station in north Minot, where it will be dedicated to responding to airport emergencies.

Firefighters were learning about the many features of the new truck and gaining experience in driving it last week. They will be practicing with the truck and fully equipping it with water and chemicals before bringing it online later this month.

Battalion Chief Jason Babinchak said the truck is similar to the 2012 model that will become the station’s backup once replaced.

“It is just updated,” he said of the new truck. “So, a lot more electronics, a lot more automation on this one.”

The new truck also has different water flow rates.

“It will actually flow more water out of this one than the other one, so it empties quicker. Our guys have got to be better at water application and be more cognizant of when they have to fill up,” Babinchak said. “It has pump-and-roll capabilities, where it can flow water as you are driving, similar to a fire department brush truck but at a much higher flow rate. It has special foam to fight fuel fires, aircraft-type fires, and the dry chemical is designed to be used on aircraft and fuel fires.”

Babinchak said yellow is the international airport color for fire trucks, providing visibility on the airfield. It also has a flashing yellow light to enhance its visibility when approaching aircraft.

Between the width and weight, the truck is not road-certified, but it is not meant to go on the road.

Minot International Airport owns the truck, which the Minot Fire Department operates. It would not leave airport property without the airport director’s permission. If an aircraft crash occurs elsewhere in the city that requires the airport station to respond, the reserve truck would be the most likely vehicle to roll out, Babinchak said.

Having the 2012 truck in reserve puts the station in a better position. Its previous reserve truck, a 1993 model, had to be retired when it failed to meet specifications. Minot also has mutual aid agreements with Minot Air Force Base, Williston and Bismarck in event of an emergency requiring a second truck.

Design of the new truck started in the summer of 2022. The truck took 14 months to build and cost about $760,000 with equipment. The city received federal dollars to assist with the cost. The truck arrived in Minot in April from the Minnesota manufacturer, Rosenbauer.

The airport typically has a couple of incidents occur a month that require response from its specialized truck, Babinchak said. Those generally are standby responses, often related to a mechanical issue or bird strike with an incoming aircraft or a fuel spill cleanup or other fuel concern.

“Luckily, we haven’t had to use most of our training for anything major,” he said.

Rosenbauer, the Minnesota company that supplied the truck, sent a representative who led a day of training for each battalion and trained staff to continue providing in-house training going forward.


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