WAXAHACHIE — After a year of planning, design and cultivating input from firefighters, Waxahachie’s newest fire engine was ushered into service earlier this month.
While the total cost of new apparatus and equipment is about $750,000, the engine's features are designed not just to incorporate the latest technology but also to be practical and easy to operate.
“We requested money in the budget for a new engine last year. We formed an apparatus committee each time. This apparatus committee is comprised of three fire personnel on shift, which is usually engineers because they are often involved more in the operation of the apparatus, and then myself and the chief,” Waxahachie Assistant Fire Chief Randall Potter said. “This engine that we are about to put into service is a pretty radical departure from the norm of what we have been operating. In the old style of engine, if pump maintenance had to be done, they had to take side panels off or crawl underneath or worm their way down through there. This engine you tilt the cab and the engine is exposed. That means less downtown and less maintenance costs. It is easier to work on.”
Waxahachie Fire Department Engineer Scott Safford, who served on the apparatus committee, shared Potter’s thoughts having everyone's input in the design before it was built. Safford said all opinions were invaluable because they could see what ideas would work in the design, which idea did not fit and what new items they wanted to incorporate.
Potter said the new engine also features more storages space for tools and equipment and gives about 50 percent more storage capacity than previous models operated by the department.
“We have got tall roll up doors where it is easier access in and out of the compartments. It has saved compartment space. It is easier to get equipment in and out of the compartments,” Potter said. “We looked at it and went and visited a couple of other departments that are using them and looked at theirs. We talked to the guys that use them and asked them what they think. We got a good review on the equipment.”
Potter said work on the design started in October of 2015 and was completed in April. During this time, firefighters worked with a sales representative from Pierce Manufacturing.
In April, a trip was made to the Pierce factory in Wisconsin for the pre-construction meeting. During the two-day trip, additional changes were carried out before the design was finalized and signed off by Fire Chief Ricky Boyd. The truck was placed on the line to build, and construction of the vehicle started in August.
The new fire engine replaces one that has served on the frontline for the past 11 years. The former front line engine replaced a 22-year-old engine, which has served in a reserve capacity that will now be taken out of service and sold at auction.
The new apparatus, which was paid for with a municipal bond awarded to the City of Waxahachie during the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, is anticipated to have a frontline service for 10-12 years and a total service life of 20 years.
Potter thanked the apparatus committee for the hard work they put into this project and everyone for their input into the design.
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