Virginia’s “Unusual” fire apparatus – Bland 24 Oshkosh

bland-24-driver-side-webthumbVirginia’s “Unusual” fire apparatus
by Mike Sanders mnsand@comcast.net

Welcome to a new feature of www.vafirenews.com. Everyone has their own definition of what “unusual” might be. Virginia has had some unusual fire and rescue trucks in its history. In addition, through my travels, I have come across some interesting fire and rescue trucks. These are trucks that have been built for a specific purpose and ones you just don’t find in many stations across the commonwealth.

We invite you to submit your photographs of Virginia’s “unusual”…..fire and rescue trucks that is.

I will kick off this column with one of the most interesting fire trucks I have photographed. While returning home from a business trip several years ago, I had to make a stop for gas and food in Bland, Virginia. I also thought I would find the local fire station to see the apparatus; however the doors were closed tight. I found a local business where a volunteer firefighter worked, and he asked me if I was there to see “24”. Now he really had my interest. He made arrangements for a driver to meet me at the station and I was able to photograph “24”.

Large is a good description for this truck. Much of Bland County is wooded, so the fire department needed a truck capable of going off road and taking water with it. In addition, Bland County is the only county in the United States that is entered and exited via Interstate Tunnels. There are two tunnels, Big Walker Mountain located a few hundred yards from the Wythe County line and East River Mountain, which forms the Virginia and West Virginia border. “24” was also designed to respond to tunnel emergencies.

“24” is a 2005 Oshkosh MTVR/Pierce Hawk Extreme fire truck. It is equipped with a 500 gallon per minute pump, holds 2400 gallons of water, and carries 60 gallons of foam. The truck sits 10 feet 2 inches high.

I am glad I made the stop at the Bland Volunteer Fire Department to find this one of a kind in Virginia.

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