Alaska City Unveils New Fire Engine

By JULIE HERMANN, Kodiak Daily Mirror | August 4, 2014

The Kodiak Fire Department is back at a full complement of fire trucks.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Mullican showed off Kodiak’s new fire engine to the Alaska city council last week. It brings the city is back to having two engines and a ladder truck.

The city sold one of its old engines in October 2012, Mullican said. Since then, they’ve only had one engine, which led to problems when that engine needed maintenance or repairs.

The ladder truck is unable to go certain places in the city because of the hills.

“What would happen is for a fire, we’d have to park it in one spot and then hand drag hose all the way up, say, Cope Street. The truck can’t go up Cope Street,” Mullican said. “Now an apparatus can go down for maintenance, and we still have total coverage with our second engine. It’s a tremendous relief for us to have this. This really makes a difference in our ability to respond to our citizens’ needs.”

The new fire engine can pump out 1,000 gallons of water per minute, compared to the other fire engine’s 2,000 gallons per minute, Mullican said. The truck’s top speed is 55 mph.

This engine is a step down from the fire engine the city has, and it was planned that way.

“We didn’t want speed,” Mullican said. “We had it geared specifically so it can climb hills. It’s much better on the hills.”

The engine was built partially in Wisconsin and partially in Florida. It was then driven from Florida to Washington, shipped to Anchorage, driven from Anchorage to Whittier, and then shipped to Kodiak aboard the M/V Kennicott, and it arrived about two weeks ago.

Since then, the fire department has been working on getting it outfitted with gear. The gear it will carry includes Emergency Medical Service gear, a trash hook for dumpster fires, pike poles, and a 24-foot ladder that will reach about two stories up.

Right now, the fire department is working on getting their engineers trained to drive it and it should take two to three weeks. Mullican said people should to expect to see it driving around a lot.

The truck cost around $450,000. According to the Kodiak city website, the fire department averages about 200 fire-related emergencies per year.

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