North Routt firefighters receive new engine
Steamboat Springs — North Routt Fire Protection Chief Mike Swinsick is trying to find a new home for the department’s hand-me-down 1972 engine.
Last week, the department’s new engine arrived, and it came just in time for the busy summer season.
While the old engine leaked oil into a pan at the fire station Wednesday, firefighters began training with the new apparatus.
“We’ll be able to replace three pieces of apparatus with one,” Assistant Chief Scott Andre said.
The new engine cost $350,000, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, or DOLA, paid for half of it. DOLA receives its funding from state severance taxes on energy and mineral production.
DOLA Executive Director Irv Halter and Greg Winkler were at the station Wednesday to check out the new truck.
“Projects like this are particularly good, because we tend to focus on smaller communities,” Halter said.
Last year, DOLA disbursed $110 million to Colorado communities for critical needs and infrastructure projects.
Swinsick said purchasing the engine would not have been possible without the DOLA grant. The fire district currently receives about $195,000 annually in tax revenue for operations.
The new engine, with four-wheel-drive and high ground clearance, can carry 2,000 gallons of water and can be used to fight structure and house fires with traditional hoses, as well as remote-controlled nozzles mounted on the engine.
“We felt like it was a good utilization of taxpayer money,” Andre said. “It’s going to go out on everything we have.”
The engine can sit two people, and there is a lot crammed into it.
“We need to bring as much as we can with a couple people,” Andre said.
The engine is mounted with a thermal imaging camera that will allow firefighters to spot wildlife on the road, as well as hot spots from wildfires.
“This could be deployed to big fires on the Front Range,” Andre said.
Swinsick said the department plans to host an open house in the near future so community members can see the new engine.
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