CALIFORNIA CITY – A new fire engine will be hitting the roads in California City in the next nine months to a year after approval by City Council May 28.
"Our first out in front line, Engine 19, is tired," said California City Fire Chief Dave Goodell. "It's performed well for almost 20 years but it needs to be retired as our primary engine and moved to a reserve stance. We recommend the immediate replacement of our current Engine 19 within Pierce PUC, which stands for Pierce's Ultimate Configuration, which is a Type One engine. The requested Engine 19 replacement is within the succession plan to guarantee immediate and perpetual apparatus fleet stability, dependability and suitability."
For the first time in city history, it will be an engine designed specifically for challenges faced within the city, according to officials.
"We've always had a demo unit," said California City Fire Marshall Jeremy Kosick. "Basically a going-out-of-sale type engine that really hasn't done as much good, that really wasn't meant for our environment. So this engine was actually designed as specified by this company for almost 12 months, almost a year of time."
An apparatus committee consisting of a fire department captain and engineer worked with manufacturers to find the best fit for California City.
"It was built to withstand our environment and some of the challenges we face responding to emergencies in our city," said Kosick. "We believe because of the quality of the engine, it will last us a significant amount of time."
The total cost for the lease purchase is $753,358 amortized over a seven year span. The annual payment has already been budgeted for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. The final cost, including interest charges will be $841,360.
"They've done a lot of innovative design work compared to older fire engines," said Kosick. "They've moved some of the critical components like a pump housing that really allows a considerable compartment space, which was taken up by the pump and panel for pumping the water. With a spacious compartments that really gives us the most ability to protect our equipment. Currently, right now we have really cramped compartments, these compartments are actually causing damage to our equipment long-term."
The new engine is much bigger, but it also has a shorter wheelbase, making it more agile. It also comes equipped with some of the most extensive chassis reinforcements in the industry. according to Kosick.
"With the pump design, it's an easy access," he said. "Previous pump housings took several hours of taking it out of service to do basic maintenance repairs. With this, we can access the same components within minutes, instead of having to disassemble the fire engine and taking it off service for hours or days, we can now deal with most stuff in minutes or hours."
Compatibility with allied agencies including Edwards Air Force Base and Kern County and ease of maintenance were other factors considered prior to making the recommendation.
"Our engine was on a large campaign fire many years ago," said Kosick."Because the engine wasn't compatible with everybody else, as far as the power plant goes, the mechanics that we're all in that fire could not hook up to our engine and figure out what was wrong with it."
The engine ultimately had to be towed via flatbed to a repair facility.
"We can utilize Kern County Fire Department,
they have a full certified auto shop that is certified by appears to work on Pierce's," said Kosick. "California also has a fully certified repair facility or extensive repairs in case of a major accident."
Mayor Pro Tem Eugene Stump said he supported the purchase, but had concerns about the amount of money. After some back and forth and a failed motion to delay the vote, council approved agreeing to make the purchase - subject to inspection of the contract and availability of finances - by a unanimous vote. Councilmember Tami Marie Johnson was absent due to illness.