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Grant helps Okla. FD purchase new rescue engines

McAlester’s new fire trucks will carry 1,000 gallons of water as well as rescue, extrication tools


McAlester Fire Department custom pumper.


By James Beaty
McAlester News-Capital

MCALESTER, Okla. — A new fire rescue engine has arrived in the city and will bolster the McAlester Fire Department’s fleet once it’s fully outfitted.

It’s the first of two new fire engines ordered by the city of McAlester.

McAlester City Manager David Andren expressed enthusiasm at the city’s new acquisition.

“We are incredibly excited to get this truck and I personally cannot wait to get it into service,” Andren said. “It will take about 30-to-45 days to get all the new equipment put on it and get all the drivers/operators trained and signed off to use it.”

Since the fire engines are built based on each new order, getting a new one ordered, constructed, delivered and outfitted can be a years-long process.

“They’re built from the ground-up to your specifications,” said McAlester Fire Chief Brett Brewer.

McAlester’s new fire rescue engines are manufactured by the Sutphen Corporation Fire Apparatus Builders in Ohio. Brewer said the city purchased the first of the two new fire rescue fire trucks for approximately $525,000. City officials expect the second fire rescue engine to arrive within approximately 14-to-16 months.

Brewer considers the new fire rescue engine a valuable asset for the city.

“Rescue engines have a lot more storage,” said Brewer. “They have bigger and deeper boxes.”

MFD’s new fire engine also has more water capacity.

“Compared to our other engines, this truck carries 1,000 gallons of water,” Brewer said, compared to 750 gallons for the city’s other fire engines.

Not only does it hold more water in its tank, the new fire rescue engine will have a faster flow rate than some of the city’s other firetrucks, with a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute, or GPM.

Some of the city’s older fire engines have a flow rate of 1,250 GPM.

Brewer noted the new equipment must be added to the new fire rescue engine before it will be fully ready to use.

“It will be loaded with all-new firefighter and rescue equipment,” Brewer said, including a new Jaws of Life used to extricate accident victims from wreckage.

It and other tools used in extrication procedures are now battery-operated and come with battery chargers, said Brewer.

“With the new, updated equipment it will make our firefighters more efficient and they will be in a dependable vehicle,” Brewer said. “The city will save money on repairs.”

Andren said this fire engine has been in the planning and works since a 1991 model engine was removed from service about five years ago.

“This will bring us back to having one fire/rescue engine at all four of our stations and will help bridge the gap when we have to bring an engine down for periodic maintenance,” he said.

“This truck has more power, is more fuel efficient than any of our other engines and will be a welcome addition to the Kincaid/Village Station,” said Andren. Currently, the McAlester Fire Department has three active fire engines ranging from 1995 to 2000 models and the one ladder truck built in 2001, he said.

Brewer said the new fire engine is parked at the McAlester Fire Department Administration Building, which is the former U.S. Army Reserves Building on South Street, for the outfitting and equipping procedures.

“This will put us back to four engines,” Brewer noted. “We surplussed one engine out about five years ago. This one replaces it.”

In addition to the now four fire engines, the McAlester Fire Department also has a ladder truck, two brush units and three ambulances — with a new ambulance ordered.

Cost of the second fire truck that’s on order is $751,523.16. McAlester City Councilors unanimously approved the bid during their January meeting — but the city will not have to pay all of the costs from city revenues.

Brewer previously said the city received a Firefighters Assistance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to go toward the cost of the second fire rescue engine. It’s a 95% grant that requires the city to add the remaining 5% of the FEMA grant amount. That worked out to the city adding $27,380.96 to bring the total amount from the FEMA grant and the city’s addition to $547,619.04.

That left the city to pay the difference between the $751,523.16 bid amount and the $547,619.04 from the combined FEMA grant and the city’s matching 5%. That brings the difference between the two amounts that the city is paying to $203,904.12 for the second new fire engine the city has ordered.

The difference in cost between the $525,000 cost for the first fire engine that’s just been delivered and the second one that’s on order is the process on the first began approximately 18 months before the second one, before prices rose to current levels.

Having the new fire rescue engine will be a plus in many ways, Brewer noted.

“It will be a better outcome,” he said.

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