Texas city buys replacement fire truck for $725K

The old apparatus has a significant number of repair and safety issues that would cost in excess of $30,000 to repair

By Bryan Kirk
The Houston Chronicle

TOMBALL, Texas — There's going to be a new addition to the Tomball Fire Department family, and it's going to cost taxpayers $725,000.

The Tomball City Council recently approved the fire department's request to purchase a new fire truck to replace Engine 4, which has been plagued with significant mechanical and safety issues over the past several years.

Chief Randy Parr said while the department has remained diligent in making the necessary repairs since acquiring the vehicle in 1998, "the apparatus" has a significant number of repair and safety issues that would cost in excess of $30,000 to repair, slightly less than Engine 4 is worth.

"It's not a feasible repair based on its value," Parr said.

Some of the repair and safety issues include the truck's pump, which supplies water to fire hoses and the hydraulic generator, which provides electrical needs at the incident site, Parr said.

Because of these issues, the vehicle has been removed from service and placed in permanent reserve status.

Councilman Derek Townsend, recalled some of the issues he'd seen first-hand with Engine 4 while working as a member of the fire department and felt that replacing the apparatus was past due, especially in light of Parr's appeal.

Since 2008, the city has spent nearly $40,000 in repair costs for Engine 4, and nearly $10,000 of that amount was spent in 2010.

As a result, the fire department contacted Martin Apparatus in Denton and arranged for the purchase of the vehicle, pending the approval of the Council.

Glenn Windsor, Tomball's finance director, said the city opted to finance the vehicle through Oshkosh Capital at a 3.79 percent interest rate.

The first of 10 annual payments of $87,379.05 will be due when the new Engine 4 is delivered in early 2012.

Copyright 2011 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
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