City Fire Department set to replace fire engine

(Photo via the City of Cortland Fire Department Facebook page).

The City of Cortland Fire Department is set to purchase a new fire engine, replacing a longtime engine that’s been around since the late 1990s.

The City’s Common Council unanimously approved the acquisition at last week’s meeting. Fire Engine 202, which is 25 years of age, is slightly behind its recommended replacement, according to the resolution approved by the council. The manufacturer of this fire engine is no longer in business and replacement parts are not as readily available, the resolution continues. 

The initial estimates for the replacement are $787,000 with a 490-day build-out for delivery, or closer to 18 months through a contract with Premier Fire Apparatus, according to City Fire Department chief Wayne Friedman. Instead, the city will be replacing 202 with a “demo unit” that is ready for immediate delivery with a price tag of $649,000, the resolution states.

The model to be acquired is an E-One Custom Typhoon Stainless Steel Fire pumper apparatus, with a 1,500 gallons-per-minute pump and 1,030 gallon tank equipped with a 450 horsepower Cummins motor.

The costs will be covered through an incoming municipal bond, according to city mayor Scott Steve.

“This is a big purchase that is not budgeted for,” he said. 

Steve touted the potential savings of the demo unit, which amount to about $140,000 after the department pays $50,000 for some modifications.

Councilperson Mary Clare Pennello (D-3rd Ward) spoke in support of the new engine.

“This new equipment is taking the place of a truck that is 25 years old,” she said. “It is definitely needed.”

Friedman said the new engine would maintain the current number of fire engines at four.

“There is a reason why we have what we have. I don’t think I need anymore, but I would not want any (fewer engines),” he said.

Friedman explained there tend to be at least two engines and a ladder truck active at all times. A third engine is used by other personnel in conjunction with the department, such as the city’s code enforcement office.

“The fourth engine is a reserve engine in case one of them goes down or breaks,” he said.  “With those types of apparatuses, it is not something you can take a chance with.”