2017-04-13 / Front Page

New fire truck in Rayle will add to city’s emergency response capability


Rayle Fire Chief Brent Sherrer checks out the pump controls on the city’s new Pierce fire truck. Rayle Fire Chief Brent Sherrer checks out the pump controls on the city’s new Pierce fire truck. The Rayle Fire Department is in the midst of taking a giant step forward in its ability to provide fire protection for people both in Rayle and in all of Wilkes County. Last Wednesday, the all-volunteer department took delivery of a newly purchased firetruck which will add capability, convenience, and versatility to its service.

The Pierce engine and 1,500-gallon pumper arrived in Rayle after practically a year-long search and negotiations to make just the right deal. It had been located at the Guilderland Center Fire Station in Albany County, New York, since 1996 and is in pristine condition with only 22,156 miles on its odometer. The City of Rayle acquired the truck for $70,000, including a threeyear warranty and a pair of five-inch hoses which put it on par with the best trucks in the county. SPLOST revenues cover the funding.


Chief Brent Sherrer, Firefighter Wright Gunter, and Mayor Jake Buff show off Rayle’s new fire truck. Chief Brent Sherrer, Firefighter Wright Gunter, and Mayor Jake Buff show off Rayle’s new fire truck. According to Rayle Fire Chief Brent Sherrer, a new such truck would cost in excess of half a million dollars.

The truck can carry up to eight firemen to answer a call. They will be able to don their gear in the cab en route, and five of them can also put on air packs while riding. Storage areas for equipment, tools, and accessories are much larger. Hoses can be pulled more safely and conveniently. Pump controls are located for efficiency in an elevated and central location on the truck. The off-loading of ladders is hydraulically assisted. “On-the-spot” automatic tire chains can be utilized for added traction.

Rayle’s 13 volunteer firefighters are anticipating “a lot of extensive training” in the next few weeks and months to get up-to-speed on the new truck’s operations. Much of that training will be in conjunction with the county’s other fire departments including the City of Washington and the City of Tignall.

“We want everybody to know that even though this truck belongs to the City of Rayle, it will go anywhere in the county that its needed,” Rayle Mayor Jake Buff (also a fireman) said. “We have the best cooperating fire departments anywhere,” he added. “Nobody beats us at that.”

New and updated equipment, like the five-inch hoses for example, help the departments work together and assist each other when they answer calls. “That saves us time,” Sherrer said, “and in a fire situation, time is your worst enemy.”

The acquisition of this particular truck began in July of 2016 when Sherrer, Buff, and Firefighter Wright Gunter drove to the hamlet of Guilderland

Center, about 20 miles from the Albany, N.Y., airport. After the 14-hour drive, Buff said they were expecting to be in the middle of New York skyscrapers, surrounded by the unending city. Instead, he said, “It was just like standing right here in Rayle, Georgia.”

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