Members of the Monmouth Fire Department spent Sunday putting their two new fire engines through the paces — and in doing so, they did a favor for a local business that is expanding.

As part of a training exercise, the department burned down a dilapidated home that used to be at 1111 Main St., a property that now belongs to Buffy and Dan Dumont.

Last year, the Dumonts started Chalky & Co., a business that sells craft supplies, some of which are made in Monmouth. The business is growing, and they recently bought the old Main Street home with the intention of tearing it down and replacing it with a new company headquarters, said Dan Roy, chief of the Monmouth Fire Department.

“They inquired what the process was for demolishing a building,” Roy said. “They asked if there was any chance they could get a permit to burn the building down.”

Instead, Roy told the Dumonts that the Fire Department could burn down the building at no cost to them, saving them the expense and giving local firefighters a chance to practice their skills and put the two new firetrucks to use.

“It was a win-win for them and the Fire Department,” Roy said.


The department starting using the two new engines earlier this summer, after voters approved entering a 15-year purchase-lease agreement for them in June 2015 at Town Meeting.

The two trucks were manufactured in Louisiana and replaced three existing trucks: two pumpers built in 1988 and 2001 and a heavy rescue truck built in 2008, bringing the department’s total fleet to four vehicles.

Taxpayers are now paying back the $1.1 million in financing over the next 15 years, Roy said, but that number also includes two remaining payments on the last new truck the town purchased and about $40,000 in additional rescue equipment.

With one truck that’s now capable of doing rescues and pumping water at the same time, Roy said it saves the department the trouble of having to send two engines to emergency incidents.

Both of the new trucks are equipped with compressed air foam systems, which can knock down blazes quickly and safely, Roy said.

The the new equipment’s power was on display Sunday.


At the Main Street property, the department used wooden pallets and bales of hay to set individual rooms on fire, he explained, and was able to measure the temperature in those rooms with a special camera that was brought to the scene by members of the Wales Fires Department, who assisted in the training burn.

At one point, the blaze in a particular room reached 1,000 degrees, Roy said, but by spraying foam through a window of the building, the firefighters were able to reduce the temperature to 300 degrees in about two seconds.

The foam “sticks to everything — ceilings, walls — and absorbs heat and the fire goes out in a matter of seconds,” Roy said. “What used to take a few minutes now takes less than 30 seconds.”

Roy also expressed gratitude to the Dumonts, who brought lunch and water for the 38 firefighters who participated in the exercise.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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