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July 27, 2012

Warren takes delivery of two new fire engines

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt “Skip” McAdams and Deputy Fire Chief Gary Wilkinson looked over two of the city’s new fire engines last week.

WARREN — As fire engines go, officials say Warren’s four new ones are not Cadillacs.

They’re more like Buicks — nice, but not overloaded with every bell and whistle.

Two of the city’s new engines have arrived, and they’ll be phased in one at a time over the next few weeks. All four should be on the road by the end of August, Warren Fire Commissioner WIlburt “Skip” McAdams said last week.

“It doesn’t have a lot of chrome. It doesn’t have a lot of leather,” McAdams said. “It’s a very functional fire truck. It’s going to go to fires.”

The engines, all pumpers made by Sutphen, were purchased late last year at a cost of $1,864,791, paid over a six-year period minus an initial down payment of $250,000.

They’ll replace the oldest engines in the city’s aging fleet of firefighting vehicles and will complement the recent purchase of four new ambulances.

The first new engine, delivered in mid-July and later outfitted with graphics and equipment, will be the first to enter service at Station No. 1, at Nine Mile and Federal.

Station No. 2, on Schoenherr north of Nine Mile; Station No. 5, on Hoover at Common; and Station No. 6, on 12 Mile west of Ryan, will eventually house the rest of the new engines.

Deputy Fire Chief Gary Wilkinson is tasked with keeping the city’s fleet of firefighting equipment operational.

He said the new engines represent a huge upgrade for the department, not only in terms of comfort and safety for firefighters, but also in reliability.

Officials and firefighters said the older vehicles were routinely subject to mechanical breakdowns, including pump failures and overheating, despite the city’s efforts to keep them in service.

Warren Department of Public Works mechanics had wrenched on the older trucks at the city’s garage on Stephens.

“We can keep a 20-year-old truck running. We can’t make it reliable,” Wilkinson said July 26.

All four new fire engines come with bumper-to-bumper warranties for five years. Warren DPW mechanics will handle routine maintenance only.

In addition to the four new engines, the city will keep two older engines — 2006 and 2002 models made by Pierce Manufacturing — in service at Station No. 3, on Ryan north of Nine Mile; and Station No. 4, on Chicago Road east of Mound.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.