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1:13 AM Sun, Feb. 17th

KFD budgets for new fire engine<BR>

To keep up with taller and larger buildings in the future, the Kingman City Council tentatively approved $750,000 Monday for a new aerial fire engine for the fire department.

Once the council approves the Kingman Fire Department's budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year July 18, the department will seek out bids for a new fire engine with about a 100-foot platform ladder to replace the existing 27-year-old fire engine that carries only a 55-foot ladder without a platform, KFD Chief Chuck Osterman said.

The new engine is expected to cost between $650,000 to $690,000, not counting additional equipment such as hoses, nozzles and ground ladders, he said.

The bidding process should take about a month, with another eight months for the vendor to customize and deliver the engine.

Another month would be set aside for training, Osterman said.

"The buildings in Kingman are getting increasingly higher with more floor space," Osterman said.

"The platform is a better situation.

It allows firefighters to work more safely.

It also allows us to rescue people more effectively."

Besides enabling firefighters to reach taller buildings, up to seven stories, the new engine would allow firefighters access to rescue victims such as in flooded washes.

The current ladder engine is inadequate for firefighters to fight a structure fire at buildings like the county courthouse or Kingman Regional Medical Center.

The length of the ladder depends not only on the height of a building but the width of a building and how close the engine can get next to the building, Osterman said.

The pumps on the new engine would also pump out twice as much water per minute, about 2,000 gallons per minute, than the old engine.

Besides the 1974 ladder engine, the department currently has four fire engines, two reserve engines, two brush trucks, a reserve ambulance, a support truck and an excavation truck.

Once the new ladder engine is purchased for KFD, possibly in 10 to 11 months, the old ladder engine would then be sold in an auction, Osterman said.

It isn't determined where the new ladder engine will be stationed.

The older engine is currently stationed at Station 4 off Hualapai Mountain Road, he said.

Also in the budget, KPD is expected to receive $215,000 to replace the approximately 40 self-contained breathing apparatuses used by firefighters inside a burning building.

The 10- to 13-year-old containers only last a maximum of 15 years anyway.

The new bottles would provide air for a longer period and be also more technically advanced, he said.

Another $31,000 would be set aside in the budget to hire a fire prevention specialist for the department, Osterman said.