Two used, but extremely well maintained fire trucks and a rescue vehicle are expected to arrive in Newport within a month or so thanks to quick approval to buy them by the Newport City Council. City Fire Chief Phil Paige told the council that most of the equipment in the Newport Fire fleet needs replacing. He said he found two 1994 Spartan Gladiator Fire Engines and a rescue vehicle for sale by the city of Bellevue, Washington. He said although the rigs were fairly old they still have lots of service life left in them since they were maintained very well by high level emergency service vehicle technicians in a city with a well funded fire department.
Paige said of the two engines they’ll replace, one will be retained as a reserve engine. Paige said the Bellevue equipment opportunity comes at good time, compared to last year when he was eyeing the same equipment. Paige said last year Newport was broke and couldn’t afford to pay the asking price for the two engines and ambulance. He said Bellevue wanted nearly $90,000 apiece for the fire engines and $20,000 for the ambulance. This year, Paige said they got all three for $80,000. But Paige cautioned that the purchase won’t cure the city’s long-term equipment needs but it will buy the city time to get a plan in place and eventually funding to follow.
Paige also said that the rescue vehicle will come in handy since more volunteers will be able to drive it, as opposed to a fire truck which most volunteers can’t easily qualify to drive. He said the majority of calls for service are rescue calls that don’t really need a fire truck, at least on the initial call for service. Using a rescue rig will greatly increase the number of volunteers who can get to a rescue scene fast.
In addition to acquiring two fire trucks and a rescue unit, Newport Fire also acquired a new Volunteer Fire Lieutenant. He is department veteran Kevin Nagley who was sworn in to his new rank by Clerk Recorder Peggy Hawker as Nagley’s family looked on. Lieutenant Nagley’s daytime job is an IT specialist at Samaritan Hospital in Newport. Another new Lieutenant will be sworn in after he returns from training at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The department has already tested for new captain positions which will be assumed by already paid staffers, so there will be no major extra cost to the city according to Assistant Fire Chief Rob Murphy.