Fint water damaging city fire trucks

Posted at 9:54 AM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 09:54:37-05

The sooner those water lines are replaced in flint the better. That's according to the city's fire department.

The chief believes the city's corrosive water is damaging it's fire trucks and says if the problem gets any worse it could be devastating.

"At just a year and a half old, Flint Fire Engine 61 is the newest in the fleet. The intake valve, we see rust around it. We also have rubber that seals it. Those are being destroyed by whatever is in the water."

It was brought to his attention about a week ago by emergency equipment mechanic Mike Taylor, who took a photo of one of the fittings. Taylor says the photo shows pieces of Flint's water line getting caught in the pumps.

"That's a brand new $462,000 pump that we're talking about."

Fire Chief David Cox, Jr. says this type of corrosion shouldn't be happening for several years.

"We actually called the manufacturers of three of our fire trucks and they actually gave us some ideas of how to combat that a little bit, but what's done is done and we're hoping it doesn't get to a point where we have to replace pumps."

Which is what happened to the pump of a much older truck sent to Cox a couple months ago.

An invoice provided to the department estimates 65,000 dollars in repairs. Right now, the goal is to prevent that from happening to more engines by flushing out water lines weekly.

So far, Cox says there hasn't been much of an impact on the department's ability to fight fires.

"We test those pumps every day and if they're not working right, when we test them in the morning, then they won't be in service."

People at the fire department are trying to figure out how the water is affecting it's fire suppression systems.

Those are the sprinklers seen in businesses and some homes that go off when there's a fire.

The chief says they're calling around to sprinkler companies to see if they're doing any inspections.