GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Fire Rescue is preparing to send three engines in to be refurbished. They will be completely taken apart and rebuilt from the ground up. They were purchased in 2004 and have plenty of miles on them.
“We know these trucks inside and out. They’re great trucks, they’ve had a very reliable service life. And they’re custom-built trucks that are designed for a municipality.”
The refurbishment will help them put more miles on once they get back and are ready to serve again. The first one will ship out to a shop in Wisconsin later this year. While the first engine is gone, they will use an engine in their reserve fleet so they aren’t down an engine.
Great Falls Fire Chief Jeremy Jones explained refurbishing the engines will save more than a million dollars compared to buying new ones.
“The first one going has some frame issues that they’re going to have to replace. So that is going to take the longest to refurb. They’re looking at a year just to take this down. They’re going to take this down to boxes, frame rails, and they’ll replace everything and build it back up,” Jones said.
The total cost is about $1.3 million dollars. That money was taken from part of the city’s ARPA funding.
“When we buy fire trucks, it’s a costly endeavor. Today if we were to spec the same truck, but a 2022 model, they’re over $750,000 each. We’d be looking at over two million if we did that,” Jones said.
City Commissioner Eric Hinebauch says the city has just recently started to spend the money and this is one of the biggest purchases so far, with most others being under a million dollars.
“It’s an important step to making the fire department has the tools they need to take care of the community,” Hinebauch said. "Whenever they come to us with a request, we look into it and try to figure out how we can help. They’re out there making sure we’re safe and taken care of, so we need to make sure they’re a priority,”
The total time to refurbish all three engines is expected to take two and a half years.
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