City gets shiny red fire trucks for Christmas

Historic City News reporters attended a debut this morning of two new fire trucks — welcomed additions to the arsenal of firefighting equipment employed by the City of St Augustine.

Built to the city’s specifications, the two new trucks are very different. “The typical useful life of this type of emergency vehicle is about fifteen years,” said City Fire Chief Mike Arnold. “Rising maintenance costs and reduced capabilities of the old trucks made it cost effective to replace rather than retain them.”

The new pumper replaces one that has been in service since 1989. It brings with it increased pumping capacity with its 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump. Electronic monitors and gauges maximize the use of water in the most precise manner, according to Arnold.

The other truck being replaced is the city’s 30-year old aerial truck, and, in this case, the community gets two-trucks-in-one as a replacement.

Known as a “quint,” the replacement truck is equipped with both a 77-foot extendable ladder, and has its own capability of pumping water. The name “quint” is a derivative of quintuple referring to the five elements of service the equipment provides: a pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial ladder, and ground ladders.

When used at a fire scene, the old aerial had to be accompanied by a pumper in order to deliver water to firefighters. “The quint greatly enhances the department’s firefighting capacity,” Arnold told reporters.

The old trucks were traded in as part of the purchase. The City informed Historic City News that the new pumper cost $300,000 and the quint cost $490,000. No bonds were sold to pay for the new trucks, Chief Arnold said that they were paid for from reserves.

Of course, there are advances in truck design, safety equipment, maneuverability and so many other factors that are part of the new equipment — simply through advancements made over the last quarter century.

The new equipment was manufactured by Ferrara Fire Apparatus in New Orleans, Louisiana. After about a week of training, both trucks will be operational.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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