Port Neches’ $700K pumper truck fills out fleet

Published 12:12 am Saturday, June 6, 2020

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PORT NECHES — The Port Neches Fire Department made a big purchase at Thursday night’s city council meeting.

Fire Chief Paul Nelson announced the inclusion of a $700,000 Pierce 2,000 gpm (gallons per minute) pumper truck to the department’s existing fleet.

The truck is replacing the current model bought in 1992.

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Nelson said the National Fire Protection Association recommends a length of use at 25 years.

“Does that mean you can’t use it longer? You can,” he said. “Volunteer departments sometimes use trucks for 34 years just because they can’t afford to buy a $700,000 truck every few years. Provided if you can maintain it and buy parts, they will run for a long time, but NFPA recommends 25 years, so that’s what we look at.”

The new purchase brings the department’s total number of pumper trucks to three, with one in reserve.

“If I have a truck that goes into the shop, then I still have two operating engines at any given time,” Nelson said. “Otherwise, right now, if one is in the shop I only have one engine, our latter truck and a rescue truck. This allows for extra backup.”

Nelson said keeping first responder equipment updated is a must.

“Equipment, in this case as engines, as they age they break down more frequently and you can’t get parts,” he said. “Maintaining good up-to-date equipment is really vital to providing an adequate service, an efficient service. Besides the fact that it does increase the safety level of our crew and the firefighters on it.”

The current truck serviced many major natural disasters including Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Nelson said although the new truck won’t arrive for 11 months, it’s beneficial to continue updating equipment for frequent hurricane seasons.

“We are preparing as we normally do,” he said. “We make sure our equipment is up and running, keep track of the storms, make sure I know where all the guys are. We haven’t changed how we prepare. The biggest thing is monitoring the weather and knowing when things are coming in and staying stalked with extra necessities at the station.”

The total cost of the truck is $743,895 purchased from Siddons-Martin Emergency Group through the Houston-Galveston Area Council purchasing cooperative.

The city issued a pre-payment to obtain various discounts resulting in a final price of $702,610.

The new truck will arrive in 11 months.