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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • City donated aging fire engine to DC3

  • Commissioner Jim Lembright and Mayor Kent Smoll remember traveling to Indianapolis to scout out new trucks before purchasing Engine 411, which will be donated to the Dodge City Community College fire science program after 24 years of front line service.
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  • Commissioner Jim Lembright and Mayor Kent Smoll remember traveling to Indianapolis to scout out new trucks before purchasing Engine 411, which will be donated to the Dodge City Community College fire science program after 24 years of front line service.
    "We thought they'd last forever," Lembright said of the truck and its twin which was donated to the college two years ago, "and here we are replacing them." At the time the city was replacing its aging 1952 American LaFrance trucks.
    The pumper and its counterpart, 1990 Ford L9000s, were replaced by new trucks built by Pierce Manufacturing in 2011 and in October.
    During its nearly quarter-century of use, four years longer than recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, the truck ran up over 121,000 miles of service on the streets of Dodge City, Fire Chief Kevin Norton said. "Those weren't highway miles."
    Near the end of its service the truck started to experience some mechanical issues, including the shattering of its transmission during an equipment testing exercise.
    The market for used fire trucks can be limited, Norton said, as most cities prefer to stay within the recommended age guidelines. His department considered leasing the truck to the school, but couldn't justify the liability insurance on the machine. "We decided it was best if it was in their name."
    By donating the truck to the school, rather than dumping it on a weak market, it can still serve the community, Norton said.
    "They've been using the other truck to train new firefighters," Norton said of the other L9000 which was donated in Dec. 2011. "When we have opening in our department, (DC3) is one place we look to draw qualified candidates."
    "We're charged with giving students real world experience," said Danny Gillum, the head of DC3's workforce development programs. That experience can be difficult to provide without real equipment. With budget reductions and rising costs, "the reality of purchasing a vehicle that large is, it couldn't happen. … We're very grateful."
    The Pierce Manufacturing engine that replaced the Ford was put to service on Oct. 22 and has been called to 22 separate incidents since, Norton said.
    "It's exceeding our expectations," he said. "I think it'll service the citizens for many more years."
     

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