By Rusty Bradshaw
The Sun City Fire District board approved purchasing two new fire engines in December and this month approved buying a third.
Ron Deadman, Sun City fire chief, said construction on the vehicles approved in December is expected to start in March or April.
“After that, it will be 4-7 months before they are complete,” he said.
The third truck will begin construction at the same time, he added.
“The company (officials) said they could get it into the same order so they all three could start at the same time,” Mr. Deadman explained.
The decision to purchase a new truck came after the board late last year approved selling the remaining $230,000 in bonds to Maricopa County. Those funds, along with savings realized during the Station 133 construction process so far, will provide the monies for the third truck at just under $500,000, according to Mr. Deadman. The first two vehicles were funded from the $10 million bond approved by voters in November 2016 to fund the building of a new fire station, purchase new trucks, refurbish others and replace needed equipment.
“This will realize your (district board’s) goal of getting three new engines over the life of the bond,” Mr. Deadman said during the district board’s Feb. 20 meeting. “And we’ll get it done ahead of schedule.”
The new engines ordered will be a bit smaller than the current engines and will have a slightly narrower wheel base, according to the chief.
“That will make them more fuel efficient and able to maneuver better in some of the tight spaces we encounter,” Mr. Deadman said.
Refurbishing two trucks and buying three new ones will help residents in the long run, the chief added. Sun City’s current Insurance Service Organization rating is 3, but could have dropped to 4 or 5 if Sun City fire apparatus was not upgraded, Mr. Deadman explained.
“That (ISO rating drop) would be costly to residents with their insurance rates,” he added.
The department’s two refurbished trucks are back in service after one was delivered earlier this month and the other completed repairs after being involved in a collision shortly after to was delivered last year.