IN DECEMBER 1998, Valla Rural Fire Brigade received a brand new Isuzu FTS 750 crew cab tanker, 'Valla 1'.
Santa certainly delivered that year. This tanker was the standard RFS design and carried 3300 litres of water and had the three-cylinder Silent Pack Hatz motor running the pump.
The truck could hold a crew of seven.
This tanker was a major upgrade for the brigade when it arrived.
In some of the photos you might notice the name Valla is off-centered.
Well, when it arrived it had the word 'Beach' after it ... some say we hijacked it (from Valla Beach brigade) coming up the highway. But no, the Fire Control Officer at the time decided it would come to us after it wasn't going to fit in the Valla Beach Station (something that has been mentioned in reverse with our current Valla Station).
It had all the mod cons, like air conditioning and a tape deck.
I can't tell you how many times we responded somewhere with the Captain's favourite Slim Dusty tape playing almost louder than the siren.
This truck served the brigade well - attending hundreds of incidents and keeping us safe.
After the devastating Kian Road fire struck the Nambucca Valley on November 8, 2019, Valla 1 had run 24 hours a day for a week.
Crews were doing 12-hour shifts and changing over in the field! It then had a clean and a rest but continued to be out there keeping our crews and the community safe.
It faithfully served us for just over 22 years, until this year when the brand new Cat 1 arrived.
The old Cat 1 never had any major mechanical issues. Never had a new clutch. It had a few bends, some melted plastic panel, some scratches ... but they all tell its story.
The old Valla 1 is currently having a slight refurb before it heads to its new home with another brigade.
We hope it serves them as well as it did us. It was sad to see her go.
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