Indianapolis Fire Department Seeks Help from City Council to Replace Fire Apparatus


Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Ernest Malone hopes to convince some city council members them to replace the department’s aging fire trucks, ladders and engines.

Nearly half of the department’s 22 ladder trucks used daily have been on the street for 10 years or longer, Malone said.

The same goes for a quarter of IFD’s 43 front-line pumper fire engines that carry hoses and tanks containing hundreds of gallons of water.

Each of those trucks can make 4,500 runs per year — a regular pounding that raises concerns for vehicles on the street for more than a decade.

“We want to get on a plan that allows for us not to have a front-line piece (of equipment) that is more than 10 years old,” Malone said. “Ultimately, it’s a safety issue.”

Right now, the department has enough money each year to buy one new pumper and one new ladder truck — vehicles that cost the department at least $440,000 and $750,000, respectively.

Unless the department gets more funding, Malone said, it would take them more than a decade to replace the oldest vehicles.

“When we’re 25 pieces behind — just engines, ladders and squad (vehicles) – we’re not going to catch up at that pace because everything keeps getting older,” he said.

On average, those vehicles are 16 years old. The oldest is a 1986 Pierce-Arrow fire engine — not the first choice to send back on the streets, Malone said, but an option nonetheless.

On Wednesday, Malone and other IFD officials will walk members of the City-County Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee through the IFD Museum at the Firefighters Union Hall, 748 Massachusetts Avenue, before sitting down with the committee members at their 5:30 p.m. meeting.

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