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Previous story Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue ticked pink to finally get their brand new fire engine at Station 29 in Woodland Next story

Story by The Oregon Herald staff
Published on Wednesday May 26, 2021 - 7:02 AM
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Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue is thrilled to put a new fire engine into service at Station 29 in Woodland. The fire engine is the first of four new fire engines that CCFR will receive over the next 15 months. Three were purchased by the fire district, and one was purchased for CCFR by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Today (May 25th) CCFR performed a traditional "push-in" ceremony at Station 29 by manually pushing the new fire engine into the apparatus bay. Thirteen personnel, including Woodland City Administrator Pete Boyce, took part in pushing the apparatus into the station.

The push-in ceremony is a fire service tradition that dates back to the late 1800s when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment. Upon returning to the station after a fire call, the horses could not easily back the equipment into the station, so they were disconnected from the fire equipment and firefighters would push the equipment back into the bay themselves.

It took a committee of 5 officers and firefighters over a year to write the specifications and design the engine. It was built over 10 months by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin. The new engine has many of the same safety features as a new car, including front and side airbags in the cab, ABS (anti-lock) brakes, traction control, roll stability control to prevent a roll-over, independent front suspension, and an air ride rear suspension. It has a 730-gallon water tank, pumps 1,500 gallons of water per minute, has 20 gallons of foam for flammable liquid fires, three different size ladders, and over 2500 feet of fire hose. In addition, the new engine carries Advanced Life Support (ALS) medical equipment to treat patients experiencing a medical emergency. Common ALS equipment includes a cardiac monitor/defibrillator, advanced airway devices to maintain a patient's ability to breath, and related drugs and supplies. The new engine also carries powerful hydraulic tools for cutting apart vehicles involved in serious crashes.

The services that the fire department provides have changed significantly over the last 20 years. The engine has become a multi-purpose vehicle capable of mitigating a variety of emergencies besides fires. Fire engines are staffed with paramedics and their needed medical equipment, rescue tools, water rescue gear, power saws, and large fans to exhaust smoke and toxic gases.

Each fire engine has a front-line service life of 20 years. The new fire engine is replacing a Pierce fire engine that was built in 2000. The "old" fire engine will now be placed in "reserve status" and will be put back into service when one of the District's other front-line engines are out of service for maintenance or repair. CCFR will now sell the District's most worn-out reserve fire engine.

Firefighter Kevin Saari was on duty at Station 29 for today's ceremony. As a Woodland firefighter, he responded on the 2000 Pierce fire engine for the first incident where it was used by the Woodland Fire Department. Today, he was on the last response used by that engine, and will be part of the first emergency response for the new fire engine. The Woodland Fire Department was dissolved in 2013 when the City began contracting with CCFR for fire protection services. Woodland's firefighters became firefighters for CCFR. In August 2020, the citizens of Woodland voted to formally join CCFR and become part of the fire district. "It's an honor to have run the first and last emergency incident on the old engine. We had that rig in service for 21 years" said Firefighter Saari. "I glad to be a part of the first incident on the new fire engine, but I don't think I'll be running the last incident on it".

According to Fire Chief John Nohr, "We are excited to finally be updating our fleet of fire apparatus. Many of our front-line engines and truck are getting tired. We are thankful for our Fire Commissioners and their commitment to helping us move forward with the purchase of multiple fire engines over a two-year period".

With new fire engines going in service or in the production pipeline, CCFR will now focus on writing specifications for a new ladder truck. The District's current front-line ladder truck is 17 years old, and the reserve ladder truck is 26 years old. Chief Nohr wants CCFR to have a new ladder truck in service by April 2023, when the new 14-story hotel tower opens at the ilani Resort.

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue (CCFR) serves 40,000 people over 125 square miles, including the cities of La Center, Ridgefield, Woodland and the Cowlitz Indian Reservation. Our combination department includes full-time and volunteer firefighters responding to an average of 4200 fire and emergency medical calls a year. CCFR also provides a wide array of Community Risk Reduction programs including fire inspections, building plan reviews, and a Community Paramedic program. CCF&R operates under a balanced budget, and has a history of passing independent financial audits by the state.