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SEEING RED IS GOOD IN THE CASE OF FIRE TRUCKS

Nov. 29, 2002 – After a 10-year break with tradition, "fire-engine red" fire trucks are making a comeback in the Virgin Islands. This week, three new pumper trucks of that hue made their way to the territory, made even more vivid by a slew of gyrating red lights upon on top.
St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John will each get one, St. Thomas-St. John district Fire Chief Merwin Potter said. "They carry five personnel. They carry 1,200 gallons of water and 600 gallons of foam. They pump about 1,000 gallons a minute."
Potter said it's been about three years since the V.I. Fire Service last got any additions to its fleet of emergency vehicles. That was when St. John received vehicles specially designed to be able to maneuver on the islands' steep and in some cases unpaved roads. For St. Thomas and St. Croix, the last new trucks arrived in the early 1990s, and they arrived wearing coats of bright yellow-green paint.
A decade ago, Potter explained, because U.S. government officials were concerned about fire truck safety on the roads, the decision was made to make fire trucks yellow-green instead of red. "They thought red was too dark at night," he said. But since then, he added, federal authorities have "decided it wasn't the red, it was the reflectors" that posed problems.
The new trucks cost about $218,000 apiece, Potter said. The St. Thomas and St. John vehicles have already been pressed into service since their arrival on island on Tuesday.
Adding three trucks with improved safety features and greater water capacity is just one of several Fire Service upgrades going on, Potter said. Another, he said, is that reconstruction of the Echo Company station in Estate Tutu has increased the size of the vehicle bays, allowing trucks to be fully enclosed in the garage area. Also, he said, the Fire Service maintenance shop on St. Thomas will be moved from its current location in Charlotte Amalie to the expanded space in Tutu by March of next year.

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