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Turlock Fire debuts new engine
Department joins statewide mutual aid program
The Turlock Fire Departments fleet of fire engines and trucks grew this week when the department took possession of a safety yellow OES Engine. The occasion, which was marked with a special ceremony, now links Turlock to mutual aid calls throughout California. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The Turlock Fire Department took possession of a fire engine from the state’s Office of Emergency Services Wednesday, and in the process joined a network of fire departments up and down the state that are ready at a moment’s notice to render aid in times of disaster.

The department held an unveiling ceremony Thursday for Engine 339, a 2008 OES Type 1 Engine that when not needed for a state emergency operation, will be used locally and house at Turlock Fire Department Station 2 at 791 S. Walnut Road.

“We are proud to host this OES engine and staff it with our Turlock City firefighters in order to be part of the larger statewide firefighting team,” said Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni.

The point of pride was shared by the city as well, said Mayor Gary Soiseth.

“This new OES engine is an exciting first for our Fire Department,” Soiseth said. “Not only will this new engine help support our firefighting mission here in the community, but allows our firefighters to respond in support of other regional and statewide disasters.

“When our neighbors call for help, we stand ready to assist,” Soiseth added at Thursday’s ceremony.

Statewide, California’s Office of Emergency Services has 114 Type 1 fire engines strategically located. The addition of Turlock comes after a nearly year-long application and approval process.

Stanislaus County Fire Warden Dale Skiles, who oversees the local OES response, said when looking over the batch of applications for the engines, he had no doubt that Turlock would be “well prepared” and “ready to receive the engine immediately.”

California’s OES operates on a system that imbeds equipment with local fire departments so that strike teams can be mobilized quickly to respond to a variety of emergencies, including large-scale wildland and urban fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hazardous materials spills, and other disasters. In accepting one of the OES engines, the Turlock Fire Department agrees to send a four-member strike team to any emergency that the OES deems in need of mutual aid.

“The bigger the moment, the bigger the Turlock Fire Department gets,” said Talloni. “We will rise to any occasion.”

The cost of the engine and all associated costs with responses to OES requests are covered by the state.

Turlock’s acquisition joins the other 21 engines in region four, which covers a territory of 11 counties, including Stanislaus County. Turlock is the most southernmost city in region four. Three other agencies in Stanislaus County have OES engines. Engine 339 holds 850 gallons of water and is equipped with special wildland firefighting equipment.