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Pumps and Ladders: Francis Enos is Protecting the Protectors of California’s North Coast

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Pumps on the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department’s engines in Ferndale, California, are tested by Francis Enos Fire Pump Repair.

Fire protection in California’s rural and heavily forested Humboldt County is provided by a patchwork of more than three dozen different agencies, many of whom rely entirely on volunteer firefighters. Maintaining the pumps and ladders on hundreds of pieces of firefighting apparatus along California’s North Coast is a job that’s almost as big as the giant Redwoods for which Humboldt County is known. It’s a job that falls, in part, to Ferndale, California’s Francis Enos Fire Pump Repair.

Francis Enos grew up with a love for firefighting. He was a second-generation member of Ferndale, California’s volunteer fire department and, in 2016, turned that childhood passion into a vocation, establishing Francis Enos Fire Pump Repair, a California state-certified provider of testing and repair services for fire pumps, ladders, and related emergency gear.

In 2018, Enos took his business to the next level with the acquisition of a Weis Fire & Safety Draft Commander 3000, a mobile, environmentally friendly testing unit capable of performing onsite pump tests at more than 4,000 gallons per minute. To finance the purchase of this state-of-the-art piece of equipment, Enos enlisted the support of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC), whose Economic Development Administration (EDA)-capitalized Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) makes loans to small businesses in Northern California that are unable to meet their financing needs through a traditional lender.

With the Draft Commander 3000, Enos can deliver a full range of pump testing services directly to firehouses across the mountainous and sometimes rugged terrain of Humboldt County. Fire engines stay ready for service while undergoing pump testing and can be rapidly disconnected in the event of an emergency.

Picture of granola bar and indgredients

Francis Enos and his Draft Commander 3000 mobile pump testing unit deliver pump testing and repair services directly to firehouses across the mountainous and sometimes rugged terrain of Humboldt County.

“I am not kidding when I say Sparky and I will go anywhere to pump test fire engines,” joked Enos following a recent trip with his dog, Sparky, to service equipment at the Fruitland Ridge Volunteer Fire Protection District. The department’s firehouse is located on a hilly and partially paved road on the edge of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park; the seven volunteer firefighters who staff its 900-gallon engine and 2,250-gallon water tender are a critical first line of defense for the historic Avenue of the Giants scenic highway.

Four years after taking delivery of the Draft Commander, Enos has a full schedule of pump tests and is helping fill a critical commercial niche in Humboldt County. Annual pump testing is a vital part of a fire department’s maintenance and certification regimen. It mitigates the potential for pump failure at the scene of a fire by verifying systems are in good working order and identifying equipment problems before a crew responds to a call.

EDA makes Economic Adjustment Assistance grant awards to establish RLFs that provide loans to businesses that cannot otherwise obtain traditional bank financing. To see how other funders and borrowers are using EDA’s RLF program, please visit EDA’s Small Business/RLF Success Stories webpage.

Tags: Small Business Development/RLF

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