Illinois firefighters get mobile welding station

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services

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About 1,200 Illinois fire departments have agreements with the state’s Department of Natural Resources to receive used and excess military equipment for fighting fires.

As Illinois DNR’s Excess Property Coordinator, Jason Sartin screens excess DLA Disposition Services stock to keep an eye out for vehicles and equipment that might help.

In September, Sartin found a nearby gem.

The Marine Corps’ Company C, 6th Engineering Support Battalion, headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, had recently released a $42,000 mobile welding station to the DLA Disposition Services office at nearby Rock Island Arsenal. Property Disposal Specialist Ryan Loomis accepted the unit as receipt-in-place property, meaning that DLA takes responsibility for the equipment while it physically remains with the military unit that turned it in. The item becomes available to other units and authorized organizations sooner as they consider whether they want to acquire it. This method of property receipt also avoids millions of dollars in transportation costs.

Sartin said he requested the mobile welder from DLA, then personally drove to the Marine Corps facility in Peoria to pick it up. He said he was pleased to find it “in great condition,” with only 126.8 hours of prior usage by the Marine Corps engineers.

“Everything fired up great, all we had to do was change out some fluids,” Sartin said. “This unit has just about everything in it you could need.”

Sartin said the unit would serve multiple uses across the state. He envisioned sending it “fire station to fire station,” at the request of firefighters, either to give them an on-site tool capable of making repairs to their equipment in station, or to augment training events. First responder building and vehicle access training sometimes involves cutting out windows or doors. Sartin said having a portable unit with the ability to weld cut sections back together would allow firefighters to use the same materials repeatedly while making training resources stretch further.

 “We’re almost ready for it to start going out,” he said.