HILO — Over the years, the Daniel R. Sayre Foundation has donated ATVs, lifeguard PA systems, jaws of life, Billy Pugh nets and all kinds of other life-saving equipment. Now it’s donating a firetruck.
The 4×4, 1,250-gallon tanker will be assigned to Waimea and South Kohala area, joining a similar tanker the Hawaii Fire Department acquired a few years ago. The new “Bulldog” tanker, valued at $310,000, is equipped with both water and firefighting foam capabilities through various discharges and is built to meet National Fire Protection Association Standards, the fire department said.
The department is currently evaluating whether to station the tanker in Waimea or South Kohala. It will also be sent out as needed in West Hawaii as determined by the response protocols or the incident commander.
“It’s designed for wild-land firefighting. … Our typical tanker apparatus have to stay on the road,” Darwin Okinaka, assistant fire chief for emergency operations, said Tuesday. “That’s the benefit of this.”
Okinaka said the truck is especially needed in light of the current El Nino weather cycle, with hotter, drier conditions and more chance of brush fires.
A public gifting ceremony with the Sayres is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Waimea Fire Station. The County Council is scheduled to take up Resolution 207, accepting the donation, at its 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday in Hilo.
The Daniel Sayre Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit foundation formed more than 21 years ago after Danny Sayre fell to his death in the back of Pololu Valley near Kapaloa Falls.
Parents Dr. Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre discovered that the Hawaii Fire Department faced a critical shortage of equipment and training needed to do their jobs safely and effectively. In the ensuing 21-plus years, the foundation has raised more than $3.5 million, mostly from donations by Big Island community members.
The truck was made possible because an anonymous North Hawaii resident donated the sum for it after their property was saved during last year’s 18,000-acre Waikoloa brush fire.
“They’re an awesome group, an awesome foundation. They’ve assisted our department beyond words,” Okinaka said. “The work they’ve done for us is unbelievable. We’re just so thankful for the Sayres and those donate to them.”
North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff echoed Okinaka’s sentiments.
“I would like to say mahalo a nui loa to the Sayre Foundation for this awesome contribution to the Fire Department,” Eoff said. “It provides West Hawaii with important fire fighting apparatus and is deeply appreciated.”