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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


Virgin Islands firefighters have a new tanker/pumper truck, thanks to the efforts of a few good men.
For years Assistant Chief Jody Rood has been coming to the Virgin Islands to conduct firefighting training seminars for the cruise lines. When Rood, who is in charge of Rural/Metro Corp.'s Risc Training Division, learned the V.I. Fire Service needed a tanker/pumper, he went looking for a way to get it.
Rood decided to find out which of Rural/Metro's five fire departments might have an extra tanker/pumper lying around. He found one in his own backyard in Tennessee.
"I've been with Rural/Metro for 20 years in this area," he said. "It was the first place to look."
As a result, a 1985 Darley Front Mount tanker/pumper that pumps 750 gallons of water per minute now sits in front of the fire headquarters across from the Legislature building.
Rood has been working to get the truck to St. Thomas since last September. The whole plan has been in the works for a year and a half.
According to Rural/Metro spokeswoman Ruthanne Gilbert, Rood "did everything."
Everything except arranging for the vehicle to be shipped to St. Thomas free of charge by Crowley Transport. That was a joint effort with Fire Chief Ira Williams, Rood said.
"To him (Rood) this is no big deal," Gilbert said, lamenting, "I wish we (Rural/Metro) had known about it before a press release from the V.I. government was issued."
She said until the Source contacted her, she knew nothing about Rood's good deed, which was supported by Williams and another Rural/Metro worker, Assistant Chief Roger Hawks.
Rood said, "It was just the right thing to do. In the years we've been coming down to the Virgin Islands we established a brotherly firefighter kinship."
Rood has been coming to the V.I. every six months for eight to 10 days since the mid-'90s.
Rural/Metro provides emergency services to more than 400 communities in the United States and Latin America. The company has been in business for nearly 50 years.
Rood told the Source the donation of the tanker/pumper may be the precursor to other donations – of ambulances. "When ambulances come out of the fleet, there may be an opportunity for those to trickle down." That is, Rood said, if Crowley would be willing to partner again with Rural/Metro to ship the equipment for free.
Rood said ambulance and emergency medical technician services are the largest part of Rural/Metro's business.
Some of Rural/Metro's EMTs have even worked at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital, he said.
"We know what the needs are in the Virgin Islands."

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