In winter of 2013, the firefighters of Enumclaw Fire Department / King County Fire District #28 applied for a federal grant to replace aging fire trucks. “Our fire trucks are aging, we have a significant financial hardship and this opportunity came along,” said Firefighter Matt Williams who authored the grant. “We put in for ladder truck and a fire engine, hoping to get one. I still am amazed that we were awarded both!” These grants are highly competitive and based on financial need and cost vs. benefit. This grant was the largest of its kind in the region.
With the ladder truck and fire engine combined the original grant was written for $1,257,000. However, federal grant rules stipulate that no department can be awarded more than $1,000,000 for any single grant. The department did not have the $257,000 available for the balance of the project, so the firefighters went back to the fire truck manufactures to negotiate a better deal.
In the end, the department decided on a 2013 model year Rosenbauer ladder truck with a 78′ aerial device paired with 2013 model year Rosenbauer fire engine. Both trucks are brand new, however the manufacture was willing to make a deal on last year’s model to get them off the lot. Once the two units are fully equipped, the cost will be approximately $1,050,000. Per grant stipulations, the federal government will pay 95% and the remaining 5% must come from local coffers.
Washington State Ratings Bureau scores fire departments on scale from 1-10 based on their ability to serve their community. The ratings are based on a number of items including number of firefighters, training, water supply, communications and equipment. “Without a ladder truck, homeowners and business owners in the City of Enumclaw would see their insurance ratings go up one full point,” said Fire Chief Randy Fehr, “I’ve been told an increase like that would result in 17 % annual premiums.”
The new ladder truck is a much needed addition to the department’s fleet and is replacing a 32 year old ladder truck that was taken out of service in 2013 because of a failed annual test and significant repair cost. Without another ladder truck on the plateau, fire crews face the possibility of waiting 20-25 minutes for a unit from Valley Regional Fire Authority in downtown Auburn, assuming it’s not on another call. “Just like our firefighters, these trucks are long term investments,” said District Chairman Stan McCall. “We plan on these trucks serving our community for the next 20-30 years.”
For more information, view www.courierherald.com