Off road fire truck saves the day

Off road fire truck saves the day
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. - It could have been much worse. A hillside fire in North Franklin County threatened several homes and farms. Neighbors rushed in with hoses until a special truck arrived and got it out quickly.

Somehow a stack of apple crates caught fire at a farm.

The flames spread down a hill and towards several homes, farms and orchards on Fir Road.

The winding, dirt road posed the biggest threat. It was too steep for traditional fire trucks.

Neighbors had to take charge until help arrived.

Steve Danz with Fire District 5 said, "The residents that live here were doing a very good job of protecting the structures along the bottom of the hill. They're not used to having fire protection."

Those residents were once in an area known as "no man's land". Up until three-years ago, if they called 9-1-1 about a burning building no one would come.

So neighbors started their own fire district and now pay for that protection. But after years of practice, they knew how to spring in at a moment's notice.

Neighbor Karen Gilmore, "Right off the bat my husband's gone just gone, that's what you do, you fight, you fight!"

A 4x4 from the Basin City area rushed in to get on the hillside that the big trucks couldn't.

It can go off-road and carry water so the truck rolled down the steep canyon, into the heart of the blaze.

Shawn Murrow lives at the top of the hill. She said,"As long as the wind didn't come up. I think we were very blessed. It can get pretty blowy up here and that was the other concern."

Firefighters watered down nearby brush just in case. After a few refills the off-road truck and crew all but had the fire out. Giving neighbors a big sigh of relief.

Shawn said,"When you can see flames and wind that's not a good match. It turned out O.K."

It was a close call in the former "no man's land" during a very active fire season.

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The good news here, no one was hurt and there was not any major property loss.