LAFD Adds Firefighting Helicopter

(Photos by Eric Leonard)

The Los Angeles Fire Department showed off its newest firefighting helicopter at Van Nuys Airport Wednesday.

The Agusta-Westland AW-139 cost more than $17-million. It can drop about 400 gallons of water and fly day or night to emergencies at more than 150-miles-per-hour.

(Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas talks with reporters at Van Nuys Airport.)

LAFD Chief Engineer Ralph Terrazas said the City had also started its annual lease of an Erickson Air Crane heavy helicopter to fight brush fires.

"It's capable of dropping 26-hundred gallons of water per drop, it'll be stationed here at Van Nuys Airport until the end of the year," Terrazas said.

Terrazas said aircraft mechanics, who work for a different City department, had agreed to prioritize routine maintenance and repairs for the Fire Department during brush fire season.

Several City Council members said earlier this year they were concerned some of the LAFD's water dropping helicopters were unavailable during a small fire.

"We're working toward a successful resolution to that, but ultimately, I think it may be the need for more mechanics," he said.

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