City council members Monday approved the purchase of an $870,000 fire truck for the Palestine Fire Department. The truck, financed over 10 years, will replace the aged “Tower 1” ladder-truck at station #1 on Avenue A.
For months, an “apparatus team,” consisting of PFD driver/engineers, two firefighters, and a captain, examined the needs and costs of replacing the 25-year-old Tower 1. The department could have refurbished Tower 1, but that would have cost more than $500,000 and lasted only 10 years.
“Better to spend a bit more, and get a piece of apparatus that will last more than 20 years,” Fire Chief Shannon Davis told the Herald-Press.
The hefty, near-million-dollar price tag includes the trade-in of Tower 1 and Engine 1; the new truck is a “quint” that can do the work of both, PFD Engineer Jeff Cooper told the Herald-Press.
“With the new quint, we can have a ladder at every fire,” he said. “It's wheel base is more narrow than even Engine 1. It can take turns and navigate city streets easier. It's going to be a great asset to the city for at least another 20 years.
“We looked into the future of fire service, and knew we had to design a truck that would last for decades.”
The quint, built by Ohio-based Sutphen, carries 480 gallons of water – plus 20 gallons of firefighting foam – a 75-foot ladder, six gear compartments, and space to hold six firefighters in full gear.
Sutphen representative Randy Harley told the Herald-Press he was impressed with the PFD apparatus team.
“I deal with many cities across Texas,” he said. “I have to commend the six firefighters from Palestine. They spent hundreds of off-duty hours making sure they knew exactly what they wanted, even before our first meeting.”
The quint will take roughly a year to build. It carries a one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, lifetime warranty on the frame, and includes six annual preventative maintenance and service checks.
“It's exciting that we're getting a high-powered, high-quality apparatus that serves multiple purposes,” Davis said. “It's good for residents, and it reduces the fleet by one vehicle. We will save money on maintenance and repair in the long run.”
“I am thankful to the mayor and the city council. I know it's a large expense, but it will serve the residents of this city for at least 20 years.”