The Ridgecrest City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the purchase of a new and upgraded fire patrol truck for Ridgecrest Fire Station 74 on East Coso Avenue. The truck will be purchased using $210,000 in impact fees.
Ridgecrest contracts with the Kern County Fire Department for fire protection services in the city. KCFD staffs Station 74 and Station 77 on West Dolphin Avenue. The city will reimburse the county for the cost of the vehicle.
Fire Impact Fees are collected from new development in order to fund capital improvement costs associated with fire service, according to a staff report. According to City Manager Ron Strand, the city currently had a $325,000 balance in the impact fee fund. Strand later said that he would assume as more impact funds come in, the city may be able to buy another vehicle for the Station 77.
The new truck will replace a truck that has been in service for 17 years. It will have upgrades including an extended cab to allow for the transport of up to three fire personnel; more compartment storage for emergency equipment in the utility boxes; an upgraded 250-gallon water tank; a larger Waterous foam inductor; a mobile date computer; an extended front bumper with a 10,000 pound winch and a rear heavy duty hitch for towing emergency trailer assignments and new technology LED emergency lighting.
Strand said that there was a time constraint on the decision, since the price of the vehicle was due to go up in February.
KCFD Deputy Chief David Witt fielded questions from the council.
In response to a question from Vice Mayor Wallace Martin, Witt said that the truck is brand new.
“It’s our smaller-sized fire engine, if you will,” Witt said. Some of the more valuable uses for this patrol would be on the edge of town and wild land type fires, as well as rescues, medical aid, situations where there is somebody who is trapped or hurt or needs help in an area that our bigger engine can’t get to,” he said.
Strand, who was formerly the Ridgecrest Police Chief, later added that the advantage of the smaller vehicle is that it is a little bit faster in getting to a small fire, particularly fighting fence fires and brush fires in the desert.
Witt said that the capability of carrying three people would also expand KCFD’s services with this patrol.
Witt said that the 250-gallon water tank is about the same size as the previous one, but that it is lighter and more sturdily built.
“Do you anticipate fighting fires with this?” Mayor Peggy Breeden asked.
“Yes,” Witt replied. “Your crew at Station 74 would be able to take it to fires, to medical aids, to rescues.”
Dave Matthews asked about the impact fees.
“Every new development that goes in we collect impact fees. I didn’t know we had one for fires,” Matthews said.
City Manager Ron Strand said the city collects impact fees for streets, drainage, parks, police and fire.
For more on the Ridgecrest City Council meeting, see upcoming editions of the Daily Independent.