Lucas FR Anticipates Arrival of New Fire Engine
Lucas Fire Chief Ted Stephens provided the following description of the new fire engine which will be delivered to Lucas soon, “It is a beauty! It has a Cummins 450 hp engine and an Allison 5th generation transmission. The pump is a 1500 GPM pump with a 750 gallon water tank plus a foam injection system. It will carry 1000’ of 5” large diameter hose, 500’ of 2.5” and/or 3.0” hose, and over 200’ of 1.75” hose. We changed our paint scheme just a tad by adding a little black on the top and a new “swoosh” down the side.”
Chief Stephens explained why the decision to purchase a new engine was made, “We currently have two engines. One is a 2004 and the other is a 1996. The 1996 “Engine 862” is a General Genesis Fire Engine, although being extremely well maintained, it has given us a few fits over the last couple of years and with repair costs beginning to add up, we decided it was time to present to the city council a new fire engine idea. After a couple of council meetings and lots of discussion, council approved the purchase of a 2018 Pierce engine to replace the 1996 engine.”
The engine, with all new equipment, was purchased for just over $700,000. Chief Stephens said, “With the equipment in Engine 862 all over 10 years old, we knew it would be beneficial to purchase new equipment as well. The engine committee worked diligently to keep the cost down and did a fabulous job at getting what is needed in the city of Lucas. City council approved the purchase last March and by paying for the engine upfront, we saved a little over $10,000.”
Chief Stephens explains how this new engine will benefit Lucas Fire Rescue and the community, “The biggest benefit to the department and the city is the reliability of the new engine. Like I stated before, Engine 862 is over 20 years old and was beginning to give us some mechanical issues. Again, it was well maintained, but her age was beginning to catch up with her. In addition, the new engine has large storage boxes on the top. This will allow us to carry additional firefighting and rescue equipment that could be needed on an emergency scene. It also will give us a few more points for ISO (Insurance Services Office) and help us keep our ISO 2 rating when we are reevaluated.”
Lucas FR responded to 773 calls for service during fiscal year 2017 – 18. This included 11 structure fires (only two in the city), four vehicle fires and 37 brush fires. They also responded to 121 traffic accidents, which require an engine response. Chief Stephens said, “Call volume continues to climb at about 12% a year over the last five years.” Lucas FR responds to Fairview, Branch, Wylie, Parker and Allen when requested. They also deployed to wildland fires in West Texas and responded to the coast during Hurricane Harvey. Chief Stephens said, “We assisted our neighbors on nine structure fires last fiscal year and responded to 67 other calls for service to our neighbors.” Lucas FR averaged about 50 calls for service prior to last fiscal year assisting neighboring agencies.
Lucas FR is currently staffed with 12 shift firefighters/paramedics (four per shift), an administrative assistant, an EMS Officer, the Assistant Chief and Chief Stephens. Currently they are approved for 20 volunteer emergency responders and are accepting applications. Chief Stephens said, “In addition, we have a REHAB team that is deployed to extended time incidents. They are accepting applications as well.” All of the full-timers are trained, or are being trained, to be drivers. Several of their volunteers are also qualified to drive. All shift full-timers, the EMS officer and Chief Stephens are paramedics and six of their volunteers are paramedics.
Chief Stephens explains additional upcoming fleet changes, “The city has a vehicle replacement plan in place. Our next purchase will be to replace our oldest ambulance and should happen in the very near future.”
The new fire engine should be delivered in the next month. Chief Stephens said, “Be sure to “stay tuned” for the announcement. We will be having a wet down and push in ceremony as soon we put the new engine in service.”