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District purchases new fire response vehicle

By Staff | Sep 3, 2010

With the new fire engine are, from left to right, Asst. Chief Rich Dickerson, FF/EMT Shawn Kilgore, FF/Paramedic Bart Lally, FF/EMT Mike Knight and Captain Alan Delameter.

The Captiva Island Fire Control District officially put their new Pierce Responder engine, E-181, into service.

“Our other trucks were old — they’re still in good shape, but it was the age factor,” said District Chief Jay Halverson. “Little things were starting to go wrong, and it’s not like a car where you can fix those little things and keep driving it, especially if things go wrong when you’re responding.”

The District set up a list of requirements and put it out for bids to four fire engine manufacturers.

“The one we chose was the least expensive and matched all the specs that we listed,” Halverson said.

The new Responder has many upgrades and safety features when compared to the old E-181, a 19-year-old Pierce Arrow, Halverson said. The engine is built on a freightliner commercial chassis, which was considerably less expensive than purchasing a comparable custom pumper.

The new engine is also equipped with an “aftertreatment” system that, like a car’s catalytic converter, reduces diesel exhaust emissions.

“It’s our first ‘green’ red fire engine,” Halverson said.

“So far, everybody likes it. It has a tight turning radius, which is great, and it’s a little shorter than the old truck, but it carries a lot more equipment,” he said.

Halverson also noted that the ladder fits into a special compartment inside the truck, which frees up more compartment space on the sides of the vehicle. On the old truck, the ladders hung over those side compartments, blocking access to equipment that was stored in that space.

“We have received our initial training from Pierce and you will continue to see us training with it around the island in the coming months,” Halverson said.

The District will be keeping their reserve vehicle, the 24-year-old Pierce arrow — the one that Captivan Stella Farwell painted in patriotic red, white and blue stars and stripes — as the “second out” engine. This engine, in addition to fighting fires, is the District’s official Fourth of July parade vehicle.

The other engine, the 19-year-old Pierce Arrow, is being stored at the Bayshore Fire Department in North Fort Myers.

“Our station is small and we just didn’t have room for it. It’s currently listed for sale,” Halverson said. “So if you want to buy a fire engine, I can get you a good deal!”

The Captiva Island Fire Control District is located at 14981 Captiva Drive.