He hit Beeville last week on Tuesday afternoon in time to watch the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department put out a burning garage behind a house on West Fannin Street.
He was up early, in time to be at the BVFD’s substation on North Madison Street at 7 a.m. Wednesday to start testing the pumps on four of the fire departments big pumper trucks.
The worst thing about the job, Sosa said, is the heat. But being a native of Waco in Central Texas helps him deal with that.
“I’m used to the humidity,” he said as he hooked up hoses to the trailer on his truck and to the second of the four fire trucks he was going to test.
The company Sosa works for, Fire Pump Specialty, is located in West, near Waco. He said the company has been testing fire truck pumps for 27 years.
It takes Sosa about an hour and 15 minutes to test the average fire truck. But getting set up and than taking the equipment back down cuts into the day by a couple of hours.
“I’m looking for it to maintain a certain pressure (pounds per square inch) for a certain time,” Sosa said of his tests.
He also looks for other issues that pumps develop like sticking valves and other mechanical situations.
Sosa uses three gauges for his tests. One gauge shows him the vacuum level, one shows the water flow and the other covers the PSI of the water flowing through the hoses.
In recent days, the pump tester has been in several cities around Texas. He said the company is expanding its scope, and he expects to be in some of the neighboring states in the near future.
Sosa was not always a pump tester. “I was a diesel mechanic a lot of years,” he said. But that job got harder to do after he developed some serious carpel tunnel problems in both arms.
One day, after he dropped the oil pan off a big, earth-moving machine and heard a noise that raised the hair on the back of his neck, he started looking for another line of work.
“This is my first year,” Sosa said of his new career. He traveled with his boss for a while, learning the business. Now, other than the heat and the travel, he enjoys what he does.
Sosa said he was scheduled to test the pumps on Engine 1, Engine 2, Engine 4 and the big tower truck on Wednesday. He said he hoped to finish up the day by about mid-afternoon.
“It’s got some issues, but the pump works,” Sosa said after finishing the test on Engine 1.
A few minutes later he delivered the news to Fire Chief Donnie Morris. Shortly after that, Lt. Kirk Delgado showed up and listened in as Sosa explained what he had found wrong up to that point.
Morris explained that fire trucks almost never have to put out as much water and pressure as they are capable of delivering. In all, he was happy with the results of the tests on the first two trucks Wednesday.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.