GOSHEN COUNTY – With the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law can stop using his personal vehicle on the job.
The county received a $34,000 taxpayer-funded grant last year to fully fund the purchase of a new, shiny red Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup for the Fire Warden’s office. This is the first time the county has a vehicle dedicated to the office charged with supporting the nine volunteer fire departments across the county.
Law picked up the truck, purchased at Transwest Ford in Torrington, in February. The county had originally applied for a $47,000 DHS grant, which would have covered the truck and a lighting and communications package, Law said.
The county will be able to apply for the difference of $13,000 through another round of grant funding after the start of the next fiscal year, he said. In the meantime, some of the rest of the package is on order and will be paid for out of the fire warden’s budget, which will hopefully be reimbursed.
“The grant will continue next year to complete the lighting and communications,” Law said. “The county will apply for and hopefully be granted additional funds to complete the project.
“I’m hoping to have the rest of the equipment in by mid-summer,” he said. “Actually, I’m hoping before then, but safely by mid-summer.”
In anticipation of the addition of lights and communication equipment, the truck came equipped with an “up-fitter” package – mounting areas, electrical taps and more – designed to facilitate the installation of the additional gear.
Law has been fire warden for Goshen County since 2004, when he retired from the Blue Cross, Blue Shield insurance company. But he’s no stranger to firefighting in Torrington and Goshen County, having joined the Torrington VFD in 1962.
“Actually, when I got out of the Navy, from 1958 to 1962, I was chief of the Yoder Fire Department,” Law said. “I have a long history with the fire department in Torrington. I’ve been doing this for 60 years.”
His duties as fire warden are to support and aide the efforts of the volunteer fire fighters from the nine Goshen County departments. And this new truck will be a boon to that job, Law said.
“We have a communication trailer we pull out on scenes if we have a really bad incident,” he said. “This pickup is designed to do the yeoman’s work of pulling the heavy equipment to arrive on rural fire scenes, to assist with the positioning of the trailer.
“That trailer is just too big to be pulling with a half-ton pickup. We’ve made the mistake and gotten by with hooking on to it with a small SUV,” Law said. “If anything had gone wrong, that trailer would have gotten the SUV squirrely in a hurry.”
The truck will also be outfitted with a tool box, where Law will carry fire extinguishers and other small equipment. The bed area of the pickup is also large enough to carry extra hose and other supplies firefighters might need on a rural blaze.
The truck was purchased with the full approval and blessing of the county commissioners, he said.
“This is a first-response vehicle – a lot of times I’ll go right to the fires, but only in a support capacity,” Law said. “It’s a great benefit to the county to have saved the money through Homeland