Pullman receives new fire truck

BY KAYLA BONAR | Evergreen reporter

The bright green fire truck that has roamed Pullman’s streets for almost thirty years will be retired today.

Since 2005, the Pullman Fire Department has been working to replace the engine, which was first purchased in 1985.

The new fire truck was purchased primarily to improve the safety of firefighters.

The new truck, known as Engine 32, features an enclosed cab, as opposed to the older engine which featured an open cab that posed threats to the crew.

This is the first vehicle at the fire department to have auto chains, which can make navigating back roads in the winter much easier. Auto chains are devices that sweep snow off the back tires on either side of the truck and are often used by school districts for transportation.

The new fire truck is also more environmentally friendly than the older engine, as it releases less carbon monoxide.

Not only is the new truck less harmful to the environment, but it’s also safer for those individuals that are exposed to the exhaust.

Engine 32’s exhaust comes from the top of the vehicle and thereby doesn’t contaminant air quality for motorists and pedestrians, while the old engine’s exhaust released from the back of the vehicle.

The cost of the new fire truck totaled more than $600,000. Chuck Caessens, senior firefighter and grant committee chairman, played a large role writing the grant, which Caessens said, paid more than $400,000 of the truck’s cost.

The rest of the money was provided by Washington State University and city tax dollars.

One of the department’s goals is to replace their vehicles every twenty years.  

However, Fire Captain Eric Reiber said, “[We] simply didn’t have the funding for it.”

During the mid-nineties, when budget cuts were being made in the department, it was decided that no money could be set aside each month toward the replacement of vehicles. The only funds being used for the vehicles at the various stations were for maintenance purposes only, Reiber said.

Working on amortization the expected cost of the vehicle is assigned and a payment plan is arranged. Once that plan is in place, funds are set aside on a monthly basis to ensure that when the time comes for the purchase to be made, bonds and/or loans are not necessary.

Since Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston and City Supervisor Mark Workman have become new department heads this past year, and amortization has been reinstated, funding for the department has become less difficult.

 “[It’s] much simpler to keep it a consistent budget item,” Reiber said.

Based on their success, Heston said arrangements are being formed to have a white engine — purchased in 1992 — replaced within the next year. This engine currently resides at Station 1.  

A small ceremony at Station 2 will be held on Thursday to celebrate the new fire truck. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.