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| 90 sec read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

The Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) recently received two new fire trucks. I met Fire Chief Robert Smith out at Dexter Township Fire Station, where the trucks are currently stored, to get a glimpse of the new engines.

The two engines are replacing ones from the 1990s which have surpassed the end of their usable life expectancy mechanically and technologically. Chief Smith explained the expected serviceable life of a fire truck is about 15 years depending on usage and upkeep.

DAFD Chief Robert Smith

“Fire engines, or ‘pumpers’ as they are sometimes called, are the backbone of firefighting,” says Chief Smith. “They are what put out the fires. We pump all of our hoses off of these. They are the first to arrive at the scene.”

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The price tags for both trucks were about $1.2 million with DAFD paying $470,000 upfront and financing the remainder over five years. All of the money comes from the existing DAFD budget. For all that money, you might think the trucks would come ready to make runs. But in addition to the cost of the trucks, Chief Smith explains there’s probably another $100,000 worth of equipment to add to each apparatus.

“We have rescue equipment, saws, generators, hose, and other equipment all of which need to go onto the new trucks,” explains the Chief. “A lot of it we’ll pull from the old trucks. We finally have room with these trucks to carry things we should have been carrying some time ago and just weren’t able.”

“To transition them into service takes a while,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of equipment to install. We use as much equipment off the old trucks as we can, but some of it won’t fit the new set up and that takes time to coordinate.”

The American Flag painted into the grill is done by hand. Little brushes. One grate at a time.

Chief Smith hopes to have them ready to roll by mid-December.

The trucks were built by Pierce Manufacturing, based in Appleton, WI, who has been building fire engines for over 100 years. When it comes to finishing the trucks out according to DAFD’s specific needs, Pierce will arrive to do the work because as Chief Smith says, “They know where to drill the holes without screwing something up.”

DAFD is headquartered in the City of Dexter and services mainly the City, Dexter Township, and Webster Township. Dexter Township built a fire station two years ago. Webster recently approved the construction of a third fire hall in the Department.

Once outfitted and ready to serve, one new engine will be stationed in the City of Dexter and the other in Webster Township.

All photos by Doug Marrin

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