As investigators combed the brushladen creek bed, the sun began to dip behind the Texas horizon. Nearby, a 6.5- foot light tower mounted to a truck from Euless B&B Wrecker Service cast a farreaching glow on the scene where an officer had been shot in the line of duty.
It wasn’t the first time the B&B crew had been called to illuminate a scene–or the last.
In fact, thanks to one piece of equipment — a Command Light Shadow RT light tower mounted to B&B’s Ford F-550 service truck — the 64-year-old towing company has found a special calling in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A swath of fire and emergency departments across Texas often utilize this tower-equipped service truck to illuminate scenes. So much in fact, B&B charges for the use of the light tower alone.
“We have a separate line item just for that light,” says Steve Bell, Euless B&B Wrecker Service Manager. “The tower literally pays for itself.”
To deploy the truck, B&B charges a service fee plus an hourly rate while the truck is on scene.
In the aforementioned incident, the truck was utilized nearly 20 hours. During a typical vehicle fatality, the B&B logs an average of five hours on scene with the truck’s service area spanning nine Texas municipalities.
“Really, it’s a cost savings to the community,” Bell explains. “Think about it: if you bring in a million-dollar fire truck to illuminate its scene with a light tower, the truck has to run the whole time that the tower is on, and it requires a crew of four to six people to man the rig. Tax dollars are being eaten up, so we’ve found that you can take those lights and put them on a service truck like ours and bring a valuable service to these departments.”
Plus, Bell points out, a Ford F-550 can go places larger fire apparatus can’t — like creek-side crime scenes. As for the Shadow RT, B&B has been running with the light tower since 2008 “with zero flaws” and looks to add two more towers to the fleet’s rotator tow trucks.
“We have a truck-mounted light that moves with the boom, but when we swing the boom around, we often lose lighting in areas where we still need it,” Bell says. “We’ve found that a light tower can really help you direct light.”
Command Light, which manufacturers the Shadow RT, offers a variety of towers, featuring 360-degree rotation and optional backlighting capabilities to illuminate opposing scenes. It takes less than 15 seconds to deploy the flood-light system and position these high-intensity lights. Command Light also offers compact lighting and safety products like traffic flow boards.
“It’s really important to be able to elevate and control our light source, so we aren’t blinding oncoming traffic,” Bell explains. “If we’re loading facing into traffic, the typical lighting on our tow trucks will blind the traffic and interfere with the cameras on a police cruiser, so it’s not uncommon for a responder to ask us to turn off certain lights on tow truck with an exception of our tower. With our tower, the complete opposite happens. We’re actually ‘loaning’ out the tower because it enhances the safety of everyone involved. When you truly light up a scene, it creates a construction-zone effect that attracts way more attention than a few flashing lights, and departments have recognized that difference.”
With more than 25 years in emergency-scene lighting, Command Light is a trusted name in the industry. To view its full product line, visit commandlight.com ◆