PRUDENCE ISLAND — Two additional tanker trucks will join the Prudence Island Volunteer Fire Department in the next few weeks, island Fire Chief Bob Marshall announced this week. The two new acquisitions include a 2,500-gallon truck bought from the town of Plympton, Mass. The second truck, which carries 1,000 gallons, is a 2.5-ton GI truck acquired through the state.
The vehicles are a vital part of the island’s fire-fighting program that protects over 400 homes, plus a seven-mile stretch of woodland. There are no hydrants and very few fresh-water ponds on the island. Chief Marshall said the new vehicles fit into a long-range plan whereby the tankers will be supplied by a number of underground cisterns to be built in strategic spots around the island. He identified three of these sites as Homestead, Sand Point and Warnerville. A cistern has been located at the fire station on Narragansett Avenue for many years. In addition, the former main tank of the island’s water supply is on-line for fire-fighting use. At present the department has one tanker, acquired in recent years from the Middletown Fire Department. A pumper with a 500-gallon tank was given to the island department in 2012 by the Bristol Fire Department. The island volunteers also operate a rescue vehicle acquired from Portsmouth. The new tankers will given a complete check-out by a Tiverton firm before they are brought to the island aboard the Prudence Island Ferry. There are about 450 houses on Prudence Island, which is about six square miles in area is about 90 percent open space. The department, which numbers 42 active members, is financed through donations by island property owners, the annual Firemen’s Fair, grants and an annual stipend from the Town of Portsmouth. For more information about the department, visit www.pivfd.org.