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Newport’s hot for (new) fire engines

It’s out with the old and in with the new in 2011 for the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The department recently put two new Pierce fire engines into frontline service, replacing two older models that had been at work for about 10 years.

The new rigs have cleaner-burning diesel engines with lower emissions and a third more storage capacity for firefighter equipment.

Each engine cost $480,000 before taxes, officials said.


The acquisition will push the current engines at the Lido and Fashion Island fire stations into reserve. Existing reserves will be phased out and auctioned.

New firefighting vehicles cost less to maintain than their older counterparts, and the 10-year-old rigs are going to replace even older models in reserve, said Battalion Chief Chip Duncan.

In 2008, when wildfires broke out statewide, the NBFD was among many county agencies that sent engines and firefighters to help.

In their place, the department had to pull up reserve engines, some in service since 1991, Duncan said.


There were no problems that year, but there’s less of a guarantee when the equipment is that old, he said.

The two new engines will complement other vehicles the department recently acquired. Firefighters also expect to acquire a new ladder truck to replace a 15-year-old model.

When the city gets its new ladder truck, it will be the first time in recent memory the department will have a model in reserve, Duncan said.

That’s important when the new one is out of service for maintenance, he added.