One seriously injured in Great Bend explosion
One person received what were described as critical injuries in an explosion reported at 3:08 a.m. Wednesday at 705 10th St. in Great Bend.
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Council looks at buying new fire truck
Pumper-tanker would replace 1992 fire engine
old fire truck
This Great Bend Fire Department’s 1992 Pierce pumper truck may be replace by a new pumper-tanker. The purchase is on the City Council agenda Monday night. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Fire Department current Pierce pumper has faithfully served the GBFD since 1992. On Monday night, the City Council will consider replacing the venerable fire truck at a cost of nearly $500,000.

“The process to replace the 1992 Pierce began in late 2019,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brent Smith in the agenda for the meeting Monday. At that time, the fire engine was barely capable of passing the required pump test .

And, Smith said National Fire Protection Association guidelines allow for an engine being a frontline apparatus for 10 years then moving to a backup apparatus for five years before being retired out of the fire service. “We have been fortunate that with good maintenance the fire engine has remained in working order as long as it has.”

The pump test completed in October 2022 shows that the truck passed pump test again. The company doing the test advised they had to stop the test early as they felt that the truck was going to overheat. 

In discussions with city administration, a plan was developed to combine two capital outlay projects together (fire engine and tanker) to build specifications for a pumper/tanker, Smith said. Building this apparatus allows the fire department to meet the International Organization for Standardization standard for being able to haul a greater quantity of water into areas where there are no fire hydrants. 

“The pumper/tanker we are asking for will also meet the ISO and NFPA standard for a fire engine with the capability of pumping 1,250 gallons-per-minute minimum at a structure fire,” he said. “A committee was formed to put together a spec for an apparatus that would meet the needs of the department and the citizens we serve.”

Extensive research was done on the project and five trips were made to look at apparatus in other cities that were close to what they were looking for. The specs were sent out to nine manufacturers and was placed online per the city procurement policy. 

“We received two bids back by the deadline,” Smith said. Of the seven manufacturers we did not receive bids from, they received emails from three stating that they were not bidding on the apparatus due to a 900-plus day delivery date, not being able to guarantee the price for that long or they were not able to build the vehicle requested. 

The low bid was from Deep South Fire Trucks of Seminary, Miss., for $436,000 for a 2023 fire truck. 

By 2024, the department will have saved $288,000 in the sales tax capital improvement fund for the truck, which will leave the department short by $148,000. However, in 2022, they budgeted for $830,000 in sales tax revenue and actually received $1,002,225, an increase of $172,225, which will cover the shortage.