After the devastating wildfires that struck California in 2017, rebuilding began, and Bejac Corp., like other rental companies, sent equipment to help. After the horrific Carr fire that spread from Shasta County through the town of Redding, working with trusted contractors, Bejac, based in Placentia, Calif., deployed Link-Belt machines.
The Carr fire blazed for more than a month, from July 23 through Aug. 30, consuming 229,651 acres, destroying more than 1,600 buildings, and killing at least eight people. Once contained, Redding Electric Utility called on Dragon Demolition to begin the cleanup. Dragon is based in nearby Chico, Calif., and has more than 20 years of experience in demolition. Owner Tom Carpenter reached out to Bejac for advice on which machines would accomplish the job as quickly and economically as possible.
“They have great rental department staff, a great service department, are easy to work with, and they recommend and have the appropriate equipment that is needed for the job,” said Carpenter, who has worked with Bejac for almost a decade.
Kevin Broderick, territory account manager at Bejac, recommended two Link-Belt excavators: the massive 350 X4 and the nimble 80 X3 Ace. Broderick recommended the 350 X4 for taking care of the fallen trees and other debris.
“At over 80,000 pounds and with more than 40,000 pounds of breakout force, the 350 X4 is a beast best suited for the grunt work,” said Broderick. “It’s there for the really heavy loading and lifting or pulling large trees up or down the slopes.”
For the more precise task of clearing and cutting the cables and wires, Broderick offered the smaller, 18,900pound 80 X3 Spin Ace, coupled with a Genesis rotating Versi Pro 7 shear. “In order to cut the thin 1-inch cable, it was all that was needed for that particular job,” said Broderick. “Anything bigger would have been excessive and not cost-effective.”
Despite one minor issue -- a shear blade broke, but was quickly fixed thanks to Bejac’s fast onsite service – 66 miles worth of cable was prepped for recycling in a matter of weeks, clearing the way for rebuilding to begin.
Unfortunately, the even more catastrophic Camp Fire broke out in Paradise, Calif., two months later. The Camp Fire tore through 153,336 acres, burning 18,804 structures and claiming at least 85 lives.
Bejac once again was asked to assist, coordinating with a local contractor to dispatch another 350 X4, as well as Link-Belt’s 245 X4 Spin Ace to clear debris on Highway 70.
“The 245 X4 is a compact unit with lots of power for lifting heavy objects and breakout force of 34,600 pounds, but still a small footprint and no tail swing to interfere with traffic or take up precious road space,” said Broderick, especially important when many evacuees were returning to survey the damage.
“All the machines selected for the fire cleanup were chosen because they were the best tool for the specific application,” Broderick noted.