The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 1:00 am

Council approves new fire truck

Smaller vehicle allows broader access across the city

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Fire Chief Eric Lahey adjusted his plan for replacing engines to take advantage of a deal that will save the city more than $118,000.

Lahey brought a request to Fort Wayne City Council's Tuesday meeting to buy a 100-foot aerial ladder truck from MacQueen Emergency.

Buying a 100-foot aerial ladder truck was set for 2023 in the capital improvement plan the department submitted with its budget last year. Lahey said he had planned on buying two engines this year, but it's worth changing the plan to save the city money.

The city planned on having a custom truck built, which would take at least two years. Lahey had an estimated cost of more than $1.5 million in the capital improvement plan.

Pierce Manufacturing was set to build the custom truck after responding to the fire department's request for proposals, Lahey said. Pierce estimated the custom truck would cost more than $1.3 million, but the final price would be affected by cost increases.

Then Lahey found out that MacQueen Emergency was selling an aerial ladder truck that had been used for demonstrations. The truck had the unique feature Lahey said is most important when serving Fort Wayne: a total height of 10 feet, 10 inches. Many fire trucks are at least 12 feet tall.

“That gives us the capability of moving that truck from one side of the city to the other for any kind of emergency without having to take an alternate route in order to avoid an underpass that sits at 11 (foot) 8 (inches) or 11 (foot) 5 inches,” Lahey said.

Pierce and MacQueen agreed to sell the truck for $118,385 less than the listed price for a total of $1,334,898, which matches the estimated cost of the custom truck. Lahey said the department now won't have to wait on the two years of lead time for the custom truck to be built, and the deal will protect the city from increased costs in repairs and scheduled price increases.

The fire department is expected to get the truck soon after Lahey received unanimous support from City Council members Tuesday. The aerial ladder truck will replace a truck that has been in service since 1996 at Fire Station 17 on Getz Road.

Next year, the fire department will purchase two new engines, which were estimated to cost $1.15 million in the capital improvement plan.

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