Thursday, July 22, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Firefighters at the Kalihi Kai station check out one
of the new state-of-the-art fire trucks.

City rolls out new fire trucks

By Dawn D. Sagario


You can expect a quicker response by the Honolulu Fire Department and more power to battle fires with eight new fire- trucks.

The state-of-the-art trucks sport electronics that probably will cut the time it takes to get to a fire scene and can do more, thus reducing preparation time to fight a blaze, officials say.

The Fire Department rolled out the seven pumpers and a ladder truck yesterday for a demonstration and blessing. The trucks were ordered from Pierce Fire Trucks in Appleton, Wis.

The pumpers have full electronic transmission and braking and lights on every section of the vehicle that will help to cut response time, said equipment maintenance supervisor Dean DeMelo.

"It's not a matter of speed, it's about getting people out of the way," he said, noting the lights provide increased visibility and will help firefighters to get to alarms quicker and safer.

The ladder truck is equipped with a pump, as well as 500 gallons of water. The old trucks held only ladders and equipment, and were accompanied by separate vehicles for pumping water. The new truck is a combination of the two.

"It cuts down our time by a good 15 to 20 minutes," Honolulu Fire Chief Attilio Leonardi said. "It saves you resources and cuts your time down."

In August, three additional ladder trucks are set to arrive and will be assigned to the Hawaii Kai, Waiau and Kapolei fire stations.

According to Capt. Richard Soo, the department's public information officer, the costs for the vehicles are $329,000 each for the pumpers and $499,000 for the ladders.

Five of the apparatuses were paid from a federal Community Development Block Grant and the rest are city funded as part of station renovations. Wahiawa, Hauula, Kalihi Uka and Kalihi Kai fire stations will be receiving the replacement trucks.

E-mail to City Desk

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