Kent retires 22-year-old fire engine


Rachael Le Goubin

The Kent City Fire Department will replace its 23-year-old fire truck with a new one set to be purchased in 2014. 

Megan Wilkinson

After more than 6,600 hours and 22 years of service, Kent Fire department plans to retire one of its oldest fire engines.

Fire Chief Dave Manthey said the department will replace fire engine number 1813 for a $660,000 custom-built engine that is set to arrive in June or July. Manthey said fire engine number 1813 was built in 1991, and has been used heavily since then. He said it is “due up.”

“In fire apparatus, (trucks) are designed to take years of wear and tear, but we are getting close to the extreme now,” Fire Captain David Moore said. “This engine has worked well and done its job. It’s a ’91 and has definitely put in its 22 years.”

Brian Huff, CPA controller for the Budget and Finance department, said the city plans for large safety expenses such as with fire trucks. He said every five years, the city will reevaluate what supplies or vehicles need replaced in public safety.

“When vehicles get to a certain condition level that is no longer safe, then we’ll get them put on our list for replacement,” Huff said.

Huff said the city allotted $850,000 to replace fire engine number 1813, but the fire department only spent $660,000 on the replacement vehicle. He said the money not spent on the new fire engine will be saved for future public safety expenses.

Manthey said he estimates the next vehicle due for replacement will be the department’s rescue truck in 2017.

The new fire engine will be custom-built through Pierce, a fire truck manufacturer in Appleton, Wisc. Manthey said all the paperwork and plans for the new fire engine have been finalized.

Manthey said all fire trucks are custom-built today, built to specifications of the department. He said Kent has always used custom-built trucks.

“You do not go to the fire truck store and pick one out,” he said. “The trucks are built to accommodate the use the fire department has for it.”

Moore said while the old fire engine number 1813 was a solid truck, he said he thinks the new vehicle will be more versatile. He said it will include a rescue ladder, something that the old engine did not have, and five ground ladders to help with rescues at taller buildings, such as apartment complexes close to Kent State.

“This new truck is designed for rescue, which allows us to be versatile, especially in houses that have two stories or more, which we see more of that with the additional student housing in town,” he said.

In addition to the ladders, Moore said the new truck will include 480 gallons of water and a foam system on it to help put fires out quicker.

“Current fires are burning faster because of the materials we use on day-to-day life,” he said. “What’s nice with foam is it provides a quicker knock down and more thorough extinguishment.”

The Fire department will continue to use the old fire engine 1813 until the new one arrives. Manthey said the old one will likely be auctioned off in the summer.

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].