Torrington, LaGrange fire districts participate in crossover fire training

Torrington/LaGrange Volunteer Fire Departments Torrington Volunteer Fire Department (TVFD) partnered with LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department in cross over training regarding the new rig it purchased earlier this year, both fire chiefs say the training was a success and hope to include more cities and towns from within Goshen County.

TORRINGTON – At the end of July, Torrington Volunteer Fire Department (TVFD) and LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department participated in cross over training with regards to a new fire rig Torrington recently received.

“As of so far, we’ve only done the cross over training with LaGrange, although it’s more of a county mutual aid training – where we explained and demonstrated to LaGrange when it would be most appropriate to call out this newer truck, verses when it’s not,” Torrington Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lance Petsch said. “Our goal is to do the same or similar training with all of the other surrounding fire departments in Goshen County.”

Petsch said this particular truck is specially designed to reach higher buildings, which for LaGrange, could include the Frontier School of the Bible’s multi-story dormitory and/or large barns and dominiums in LaGrange.

“What this truck is not good for – because of its requirements to be near hydrants and things like that – is far out in the county or country fire suppression efforts, wildland fire suppression efforts or roads that are not solid roads or what we call ‘soft’ roads,” Petsch added.

Petsch also said, “We hope we can bring this same mutual county aid training to other nearby towns and cities, such as Yoder, Lingle, Ft. Laramie and Hawk Springs.”

An advantage Petsch and his crew has already discovered with the new Torrington Fire Department truck is it allows for firefighters to get above the flames and heat of a building to fight fires from above buildings, which he says, “helps cut down loss of property, times spent in fire suppression efforts and minimizes danger or tragic outcomes for our firefighters.”

The ladder on the new truck is already making fire suppression efforts in town much safer, “the ladder is providing a lot safer availability with ventilation to get our firefighters higher, above the flames, smoke and fire so it allows firefighters fight fires from a birds eye-view, from above, and really, that’s most ideal – especially if we are speaking of structure fires,” Petsch stated.

The new Torrington fire truck is courtesy of a State Loans and Investment Board (SLIB) grant the department received last year, specifically for the new engine.

LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tracy Pragnell said, “It is awful nice to have this truck in our county as a tool we can all use.”

“However, more importantly, is not only knowing we have this truck, but knowing when to call for this specific truck when we are 30 to 45 minutes away from Torrington,” Pragnell added. “Being able to look at a scene and know we need this asset or that one really helps us reduce fire suppression effort times in almost half, but it also gives us peace of mind that backup is on its way.”

All-in-all, Pragnell said, “it (the cross over training with Torrington) was excellent training all together – anytime you can see the capabilities of what this truck can do, what it is used for and not used for, you’re already better equipped than before and this is really key for us being so far from Torrington and really so far from other fire districts in the county.”

“Knowing more about this truck, with its bells and whistles really will go a long way in helping LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department in mitigating a scene and knowing who to call, when to call and what equipment to call for,” Pragnell added.

The $1.3 million dollar ladder was purchased by a 75% matching grant from SLIB with mineral royalty grant monies. The city of Torrington and other rural departments contributed the remaining 25%, or 12.5% from each fire district.

Both Petsch and Pragnell say they are committed to continuously improving safety conditions for firefighters as well as training implementations at local fire districts. Both chiefs hope to do other mutual training programs with neighboring counties, fire districts, fire agencies – such as a frequently called upon for mutual fire suppression efforts, Scottsbluff.

During the spring and summer, TVFD began its training with an individual from Pierce Manufacturing to learn the ins and outs of the truck back in January. Now, Torrington is sharing that training with surrounding communities in, near and around Goshen County for if or when they would be asked to help in fire suppression efforts.

“The addition of this new truck has greatly improved our fire protection capabilities for the citizens of not only Torrington – but all of Goshen County,” Petsch added. “This truck has already been such an asset to our immediate community as well as our wider community.”

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