Rockford (IL) Gets Specialized Rescue Trucks

Rockford (IL) is buying four fire engines at a total cost of $2.3 million this year as it continues a four-year plan to replace its aging fleet.

The financing was approved by the Rockford City Council in February and will be repaid in seven annual installments from the general fund. Three ladder trucks and an engine were replaced last year.

The old trucks served Rockford through nearly two decades of nasty winters, helped firefighters rescue victims of horrible traffic crashes and have been a fixture of the department for nearly two decades.

But with the wear and tear some were replaced with used trucks during the recession and were too often out of service for repairs, Chief Derek Bergsten said. The fleet was becoming so aged that without a replacement program, Bergsten said the city was in danger of having to shut down engine companies.

Three of this year’s four new trucks are able to respond to any emergency but are engineered and equipped to extricate victims from serious traffic crashes.

The specialized engines can carry 250 more gallons than the old trucks and can pump water from hydrants at 1,500 gallons per minute and even move while pumping water.

They have a light tower with four 900-watt lights capable of illuminating an accident scene even in pitch black. And with built-in power generators, firefighters can more efficiently run extrication equipment by plugging it directly into the truck instead of using a portable generator.

The rescue engines will be housed at Station 4, 2959 Shaw Woods Drive, Station 8, 505 Sherman St., and Station 11, 2117 Calgary Court.

The first of the Pierce Saber Pumper rescue fire engines replaced a truck with more than a 175,000 miles at Station 4 last week. The second, the new Engine 8, is being customized in the fire department’s shop with shelving, equipment and set-up specific to Rockford.

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