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Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire buys used trucks from volunteer departments

Aging fire trucks and a cancelled contract have forced firefighters to sometimes respond in an SUV


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By Bill Carey
FireRescue1 Staff

PITTSBURGH — Due to the cancellation of a contract for purchasing new fire trucks, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire is now turning to alternative sources and procuring used trucks from external fire departments.

Confronted with an aging fleet of fire trucks, the bureau recently decided to buy two used fire trucks from nearby volunteer fire companies. This decision followed the unfortunate cancellation of a contract in May 2022, which had an initial value of $1.8 million and aimed to procure three new trucks, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Under the administration of former Mayor Bill Peduto, the contract was issued without consultation with Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones and the city’s firefighter union. As a result, the purchase order was subsequently canceled.

In September, the city council approved the leasing of four new trucks over a span of seven years, amounting to a total cost of $3.8 million. However, due to the urgency of the situation in recent months, the need for fire trucks became even more pressing. The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has encountered situations where they had to utilize an SUV to respond to fire calls when no pumpers were available.

“It is a crisis and the fact is if we do not act, and we do not develop a purchasing plan, remember, this is two years plus before we are going to get new apparatus in,” Ralph Sicuro, Pittsburgh Fire Fighter Union President told WPXI. "Every day we allow this to go by without figuring out a plan and funding it, we are going to be in a bigger problem,” he said.

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