A new piece of life-saving equipment is now at the Shreveport Airport Authority's disposal. It's a $900,000 fire truck, purchased with funds secured by the state Transportation Committee.

Retiring SAA Fire Chief Gary Caskey says it was a long process. "This thing lasted well over 12 months," he says. "My biggest thanks, besides all the communication and all the help, would be for the state of Louisiana for coming through with this vehicle for us."

What can the new truck do?  Current SAA Fire Chief David Ebarb tells KEEL News the new truck has one more option than the current truck. "They both carry 3,000 gallons of water, 500 gallons of foam and 400 pounds of dry chem," Ebarb says. "But this truck has the ability to pierce the side of an aircraft."

But why would anyone want to do that? Ebarb says when an aircraft comes in and it hits the ground, and it twists and it's banged up, it's hard to get a door open. "So to get a quick access inside, you use that shnozzel, which is on top of the truck," he says. "It can pierce the side of an aircraft and get a rapid water curtain inside to provide the passengers with a quick way out."

The difference between this truck and a normal fire truck is that this one can pump and roll -- it can drive and spray water. Your average fire truck has to stay in one place, tied to a fire plug. The nozzels on the SAA's truck spray at 250 gallons a minute, with 3,000 gallons on the truck. So you're looking at about two minutes worth of firefighting capability, if the nozzels are sprayed at high flow continuously. But the airport's firefighters are trained to spray intermittently.

There are also under-truck nozzels. Ebarb says aircraft don't burn easily, but the fuel on the aircraft does. So these nozzels provide a blanket of foam, which allows the vehicles to enter and exit a crash site safely.

Fire officials did a demonstration of the new fire truck's capabilities.  Check out the photos:

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