Aspen due for new fire trucks |

Aspen due for new fire trucks

Jeremy Heiman

The Aspen Fire Protection District is preparing to beef up its front line with a pair of new fire engines at a cost of some $700,000.

One new vehicle will be a pumper-tanker truck, designed to be the first equipment on the scene of a fire. The other will be a rescue engine, used to respond to auto accidents and other such emergencies. Both trucks should be in the fleet by this time next year.

The pumper-tanker is meant for in-town use – for fighting fires in buildings. It carries a large quantity of water, allowing firefighters to start dousing flames even before hoses are connected to a hydrant.

“These are our front-line pieces of apparatus,” said Aspen Fire Chief Darryl Grob. The greater distance between fire hydrants in Aspen’s suburban areas makes the pumper-tanker truck essential.

The two vehicles will replace the oldest engines in Aspen’s fleet, two 25-year-old fire trucks that are both reaching the end of their service lives, Grob said. Because they are driven only perhaps 100 times a year, they’re not so much worn out as obsolete.

“After a quarter of a century,” Grob said, “the technology has come so far that it’s time to make the appropriate upgrade.”

The engines will each cost in the neighborhood of $350,000, Grob said. No debt will be incurred by the fire district, because the funds will come from a $1.9 million bond issue dating from 1992. That bond money has already bought the district its new fire stations at Aspen Village and Woody Creek, a new wildfire truck and a 3,000-gallon water-tender truck.

Grob said the engines will be ordered in the near future, as soon as the final details are nailed down. “It’s not a done deal, yet,” he said. Once they are ordered, it may take as much as nine months for delivery.

Oh, and one more thing: The new trucks will be red.

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