July 30, 2015 by Minuteman Trucks
Warwick Beacon | Article by Kyla Burke
Firefighters with the Warwick Fire Department are no strangers to battling the heat, and Monday was no exception as they endured 90-degree temperatures to unveil three new engines at the seawall in Oakland beach.
Representatives from Pierce Manufacturing, the company that built all three engines, joined Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong, Assistant Chiefs Bruce Cooley and James McLaughlin, and Mayor Scott Avedisian to showcase the city’s newest engines, which will replace existing vehicles as a result of a unanimous City Council decision. According to Bruce Keiser, acting chief of staff, the engines will be bought under a five-year lease-purchase agreement with an interest cost of about 2 percent. Keiser said annual payments of about $300,000 would come out of the city’s general fund.
The three new engines were treated to a “wet-down,” a long-standing tradition in coastal fire departments that signifies the celebration of the new fire apparatus by spraying the trucks. A fireboat sent geysers of salt water into the air, but the refreshing fountain was too far offshore to baptize the glistening trucks.
The new Engine 4, which cost $444,747, will be housed at Station 4, which covers the Warwick Neck neighborhood, at 1501 West Shore Road and will replace a 1994 truck. Engine 6, which cost $467,584, will replace another 2004 engine, which was totaled in an accident last March when it was hit by another driver at the intersection of Post and Airport Roads. It will be housed at Station 6, which covers Conimicut and Hoxsie, at 456 West Shore Road. Engine 9 will be housed at 314 Commonwealth Avenue and will cover the Route 2 and Pontiac area. The cost of this engine was $473,724. All of three of these new trucks include 750-gallon water tanks, 1,500 gallon per minute pumps, and 20-gallon foam tanks on board, which the previous trucks did not include.
The total cost of the three trucks is $1,386,195. The old trucks will now be used as reserve trucks.
“By having these new engines it brings us up to date with other programs, where we were previously lacking because of the age of the trucks,” said Assistant Chief Bruce Cooley. Chief Cooley went on to say the new trucks were bought with grant funding and emergency funding, referring to the accident involving Engine 6. “Pierce Manufacturing had two trucks available that suited our needs, and a two truck purchase reduces the overall cost of the vehicles,” said Cooley. Specifics of the savings were not released although Pierce representatives and Assistant Chief James McLaughlin said it was substantial.
Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon said of all the manufactures presented, Pierce Manufacturing had preferred workmanship, which ultimately offers a longer life expectancy of trucks over the years. “I feel comfortable we are very well equipped for a while. This was a relief in itself relative to future expenditures,” Solomon said.
William Lloyd, President of the Warwick Firefighters Union was critical of the city’s aging fire trucks at a city council meeting last July calling for “an effective repair and replacement plan.” He cited truck breakdowns and water pump failures.
Lloyd is pleased with the new equipment. “The old trucks were getting tired and needed to be replaced. These new trucks will benefit members of the community and our firemen by providing more water flow and other features the older trucks didn’t do,” said Lloyd.
Captain Ed Hannon of Engine six discussed the simplifications the new engines offer. “Every hose line has the capability to flow foam, before only one specific line had that function. Foam helps us put out fires that involve fiber glass and fuel, such as boat fires,” said Captain Hannon
McLaughlin said the department generally looks at a truck as a 20-year investment with 15 of those years being a first line responder and five as a reserve. The department has three ladders, nine engines, one special hazards truck and two battalion chief vehicles in addition to rescues.
Pierce Manufacturing allows for customization of their trucks to suit departments’ specific needs. David McAlice, regional vice president of sales for Pierce Manufacturing said the Warwick Fire Department was conservative in customizing the trucks and opted for functionality.
“The Warwick Fire department was tasked to be good stewards of taxpayer money, and they received a lot of fire power for their money,” said McAlice. McAlice noted that many customized trucks could cost over $650,000.
Paul Grondalski, a sales representative for Pierce Manufacturing also praised the Warwick Department of Public Works, which works with Pierce Manufacturing on routine repairs. “They are some very talented people in the DPW that know how a fire apparatus runs,” said Grondalski.
The addition of new fire engines has been well received by Mayor Scott Avedisian as well. In a press release, Mayor Avedisian said “The arrival of these vehicles will help us to ensure that our fire personnel can respond quickly, safely, and efficiently to medical and other emergencies, further helping to ensure the health and well-being of those who visit and live and work in our community.”