Arkansas City Fire-EMS to celebrate new fire engine Saturday

Beverly Bryant - March 19, 2019 3:43 pm

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan.  The Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department invites citizens to partake in a “wetdown and push-in” of Arkansas City’s newest fire engine, Engine 52, this weekend.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at noon Saturday at the Fire-EMS Department, which is located at 115 South D St. Refreshments will be available to those who attend.

The Fire-EMS Department also will be open for tours, starting at noon, with the push-in set for 1 p.m.

The celebration of the arrival of a new piece of apparatus has always been a source of pride for fire companies, for more than 100 years,” said Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe, explaining the push-in’s significance.

Wolfe said the tradition dates back to when fire apparatus were hand- or horse-drawn, which required members of the fire company to push engines back “into quarters.” This was a daily occurrence.

We use the wetdown and push-in to announce to the community that it has a new source of pride,” Wolfe said. The event and tours allow the community to see the capabilities of the fire-EMS department.

The City Commission of Arkansas City voted unanimously Aug. 21, 2018, to purchase a 2019 Ferrara heavy-duty rescue pumper, with a Hale 2,000-gallons-per-minute pump and 750-gallon tank, from Fire Master Fire Equipment, Inc., of Springfield, Missouri, for an amount not to exceed $621,000.

During that meeting, Wolfe said the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department currently had one operational pumper, as well as the current Engine 52, a 1995 Pierce Dash pumper that had served the community for 23 years, but now had outlived its useful service life.

It had developed so many maintenance issues, Wolfe said, that it was used only to transport hose.

An apparatus committee of seven fire-EMS department employees was formed in November 2017 and worked diligently to identify the best vehicle for a 20-year investment that uses tax money efficiently.

Four fire apparatus manufacturers were reviewed and compared to the committee’s specifications.

Ferrara met or exceeded all of the specifications, provided a quality-built apparatus and gave the best value to the community. This purchase was through the HGAC program, which uses a competitive procurement process compliant with Kansas statute. Projected delivery time was 150 calendar days.

Wolfe said this pumper easily was $100,000 to $150,000 less expensive than other new pumpers purchased recently by comparable cities. He credited the committee for understanding the city’s needs.

He also said this latest purchase will take care of all firefighting apparatus until the aerial platform is scheduled for replacement in 2030. The average life expectancy of modern pumpers is 18 to 20 years.

Among other protections, Ferrara offers two-year bumper-to-bumper warranties, 10-year warranties on several different components and a temporary replacement vehicle, if Engine 52 needs maintenance.

The purchase price includes a special “blackout” package that replaces much of the chrome with a material similar to a spray-on bed liner, the first time Arkansas City has featured this on a new engine.

City commissioners and the audience left City Hall for 15 minutes during the Aug. 21, 2018 meeting, to view and inspect a demonstration version of the vehicle that was parked on North First Street.


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