The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 10, 2012

Joplin’s fire service on the mend

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin is replacing its fire engines that were destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

The City Council has authorized the purchase of two engines at a cost of $982,882. The cost will be paid with reimbursements from the city’s insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Replacements have been ordered for 1996 and 2004 model fire engines that were ruined in Station No. 2, 2216 S. Maiden Lane, and Station No. 4, 2010 E. 15th St., when they were hit by the tornado.

The new engines will be like one recently received for a new fire station, No. 6, at 5302 W. 32nd St.

The Fire Department has purchased two replacement brush trucks as well. They are expected to arrive soon. Those were purchased for $32,376 each from Carthage Ford.

The new engines are to be custom-built and will be triple-combination pumpers that conform to all National Fire Protection Association standards, according to fire Chief Mitch Randles. They are expected to have a service life of 20 to 25 years, he said.

The city received four bids ranging from $462,656 to $541,879 for each engine, but the lowest bid was discarded because it did not meet all the specifications cited by the city for design and safety, Randles told the council. That left the bid of KME Fire Apparatus of Nesquehoningstet, Pa., as the lowest acceptable bid. Each truck will cost $491,441.

It will take about 10 months for the engines to be built. The city has leased fire engines to use in the interim.

The Fire Department last week received a donation of $19,000 worth of rescue jacks and extrication tools from a national sandwich chain, Firehouse Subs.

Randles said the need to have that type of rescue equipment on hand became apparent during the department’s efforts to rescue those trapped in tornado debris. The equipment is designed for stabilizing overturned vehicles, lifting slabs of rubble, and reaching people who are covered in trench collapses and trapped in confined spaces such as wells.

The council on Monday also authorized the acceptance of a grant of $18,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to train firefighters more thoroughly in technical building collapse rescue. The training will take place at the University of Missouri. The grant covers training for up to 25 firefighters.

Randles said the Joplin equipment and training are part of an effort to place specialized rescue teams across the state so they do not have to travel far to answer a call for assistance. In this area, teams are stationed in Springfield, Branson and Joplin.

New stations

JOPLIN’S FIRE CHIEF is studying whether the sites of the two fire stations destroyed by the tornado should be moved to new locations to even out the city’s coverage.

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